Crohn’s Disease

Gastroenterology in Irvine, Santa Ana and Anaheim, CA

Crohns Disease services offered in Irvine, Santa Ana and Anaheim, CA

Crohn’s disease is one of the inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), causing lifelong and often severe gastrointestinal system problems. The highly experienced doctors at Gastrointestinal & Liver Consultants in Santa Ana, Irvine, and Anaheim, California, understand how miserable and painful life with Crohn’s disease can be. They use the most advanced drug therapies to relieve symptoms and prolong remission. Call Gastrointestinal & Liver Consultants today or book an appointment online for effective Crohn’s disease treatment.

Crohn’s Disease Q&A

What is Crohn’s disease?

Crohn’s disease is an incurable disorder affecting your digestive system, most often the small intestine and colon. It’s one of several conditions collectively called inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The other primary form of IBD is ulcerative colitis, a similar disease affecting the colon and rectum.

Crohn’s disease is an autoimmune disorder that develops when something goes wrong with your immune system. In people with autoimmune disorders, the immune system attacks cells in various parts of the body as though they were harmful bacteria or viruses. With Crohn’s disease, the immune system damages the tissues lining the gut wall.

What symptoms does Crohn’s disease cause?

Common Crohn’s disease symptoms include:

  • Long-term diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Anemia
  • Weight loss
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Pus, blood, or mucus in the stool
  • Fever
  • Abscesses
  • Anal fissures (tears in the anus)
  • Poor digestion and malnutrition
  • Fistulae (holes in the intestinal walls)
  • Strictures (narrow, thickened intestine)

Most people with Crohn’s disease experience periods of remission when these symptoms lessen or go away completely. But symptoms can flare up at any time and be so severe they’re disabling.

How is Crohn’s disease diagnosed?

To diagnose Crohn’s disease, your Gastrointestinal & Liver Consultants doctor performs a physical exam and orders blood and stool tests. They might also arrange diagnostic procedures to look inside your digestive tract.

These procedures use flexible instruments fitted with a lighted camera. Your doctor uses a colonoscope to view your rectum and colon and an endoscope to examine your esophagus, stomach, and duodenum (the first section of the small intestine).

An alternative is wireless capsule endoscopy, where you swallow a miniaturized camera shaped like a pill. This provides a view of your entire gastrointestinal tract.

These techniques show your doctor areas of inflamed or damaged tissue. They can also take a sample (biopsy) for lab analysis to confirm their diagnosis.

How is Crohn’s disease treated?

Crohn’s disease treatment usually involves medication. The first drug your Gastrointestinal & Liver Consultants doctor will likely prescribe is an aminosalicylate (5-ASA) like mesalamine. This medicine reduces inflammation along the gastrointestinal tract.

If the 5-ASA doesn’t provide sufficient relief, you might benefit from a steroid with powerful anti-inflammatory properties.

Other drugs for Crohn’s disease include immunosuppressants like methotrexate or azathioprine to calm the immune system’s overreaction. Biologics like infliximab also help reduce the inflammatory response.

Call Gastrointestinal & Liver Consultants today or book an appointment online to receive prompt, expert Crohn’s disease diagnosis and treatment.