Gastroenterology Associates of Beverly Hills are experts in treating and managing Crohn’s Disease. Our center utilizes a multidisciplinary team approach to treating your Crohn’s Disease, which means that patients benefit from the combined expertise of physicians who have the knowledge, perspective and experience to address all aspects of your complete gastroenterological care.
Crohn’s disease belongs to the inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) group. It can involve any part of GI system but mostly it has a tendency to occur in the small intestine (ileum part: 2nd part of small intestine). The disease is known as an autoimmune disease. It means the immune system of the body does not recognize self from non-self, so it attacks healthy cells and causes symptoms of the specific autoimmune disease, in this case, Crohn’s disease. This is the reason that Crohn’s disease symptoms are not limited to the digestive system. A patient can have symptoms in their skin, joints, kidneys, eyes, etc.
Patients of any age can experience symptoms of Crohn’s disease, but the peak age is usually 15-30 years of age. It is found more commonly in the Jewish population with males and females equally affected. There is possibility of a genetic role in the transmission of disease as Crohn’s disease involvement seems to be found within some families. Genetics may play a role in the transmission of Crohn’s disease.
Patient can presents with different symptoms: diarrhea (can be bloody), abdominal pain and cramping, weight loss, anemia, fever. If a patient has Crohn’s disease as a child, it may affect their growth. Diarrhea can occur for a longer period of time with children and may not improve with usual treatment.
As mentioned earlier, the involved portion that has inflammation can spread to the bowel wall and cause stenosis (scarring) or it can make a pathway into the intestinal wall to neighboring organs (fistula). It can also connect to a wall of an artery and cause bleeding. Crohn’s disease has 2 different phases: remission (stabilization of symptoms) and flare up (attack phase). Some patients are in remission for a long time and experience flare ups only a few times in their life time.
Proper diagnosis of Crohn’s Disease requires a complete health work-up. Since this disease affects the digestive system, a colonoscopy and endoscopy are necessary. The doctor will be able to look at all parts of the digestive system and take the appropriate tissue samples. The gastroenterologist is able to look at different parts of the digestive system and can take tissue samples. This is the most accurate way to diagnose Crohn’s disease. The doctor can pinpoint the part of the digestive system that is involved, determine the severity of the disease, and also choose the right treatment. One of the first steps for diagnosing Crohn’s Disease is a blood test that checks for antibodies and markers for the disease.
There is no cure for Crohn’s disease; however there are medications available to help manage the symptoms. The goal of treatment is to keep the patient in the remission phase as long as possible. As long as it is silent and under control, the patient can live with the disease. Medications can be prescribed that calm the immune system activity to a lower level of activity. If medication does not work to manage the symptoms, surgery can be an option to remove the affected part of the intestine.
We offer the most advanced, diagnostic techniques and treatments available for a wide variety of gastroenterological conditions. We also offer a full range of diagnostic procedures, as well as medical, surgical and minimally invasive treatment options to meet the individual needs of patients with gastroenterological conditions of any kind. Contact us if you are experiencing gastrointestinal issues that have not yet been addressed by our physicians.