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CROHN DISEASE

INTRODUCTION

Crohn disease is intermittent. This means that the inflammation occurs (flares) without warning and then goes away (goes into remission) over time. It is impossible to predict when the condition will flare, how long the flare will last, and when it will flare again. Most people feel pretty well when their disease is not active.

The most common symptoms in Crohn disease are those related to the inflammatory damage to the digestive tract.

diarrhea - Waxes and wanes; stool may contain mucus, blood, or pus

Pain in the abdominal - Crampy or steady; in the right lower part of the abdomenor around the belly button; often relieved temporarily by having a bowel movement

Bloating after eating - Less common, usually seen in cases of bowel obstruction

Constipation- Usually seen in cases of bowel obstruction

Pain or Bleeding with bowel movement

Infection of the urination tract or vagina - Suggests a fistula from the intestinal tract

General symptoms occur in some but not all cases.

Other symptoms of Crohn disease may be attributable to related medical conditions affecting the skin, joints, mouth, eyes, liver, and bile ducts.

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Follow-up

You will need to visit your health care provider regularly so that he or she can monitor your condition, see how well your treatment is working, and check for relapse and return of symptoms.

Outlook

The intestinal complications of Crohn disease include the following:

  • Intestinal obstruction
  • Fistulas
  • Abscess
  • Hemorrhage (Bleeding) - Unusual in Crohn disease
  • Malabsorption - Results in diarrhea  and nutritional deficiencies
  • Acute regional enteritis
  • Carcinoma - Colonic disease increases risk of colon cancer

Although Crohn disease is a chronic illness with episodes of remission and relapses, appropriate medical and surgical therapies help affected individuals have a reasonable quality of life.

Crohn disease usually has a chronic, slow course regardless of the site of involvement.

Medical therapy becomes less effective with time. Nearly two thirds of people with Crohn disease require surgery for complications at some point in their disease.

The longer you have Crohn disease, the more likely you are to develop complications that can be fatal. Cancer of the digestive tract is the leading cause of death for people with Crohn disease.

Crohn disease frequently recurs after surgery.

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