Mount Sinai has been at the forefront of research and treatment of Crohn’s disease. In fact, Crohn’s disease was named for the Mount Sinai physician Burrill B. Crohn, MD, after he and his colleagues first described the condition in 1932. In recent years, Mount Sinai physicians/scientists have developed new breakthrough drug therapies to help patient manage their disease.
Crohn’s disease, which is a kind of IBD, leads to inflammation anywhere in the gastrointestinal tract, though most commonly in the small intestine at the end of the small bowel (the ileum) and the beginning of the colon, but it may affect any part of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, from the mouth to the anus. Crohn’s disease can also affect the entire thickness of the bowel wall and the inflammation of the intestine can leave some areas normal in between patches of diseased intestine.
It can cause a variety of symptoms—including chronic diarrhea that may or may not go into periods of remission, mild to severe abdominal pain, fatigue, and malnutrition— and can have a major impact on quality of life.
Below are some symptoms:
- Persistent diarrhea and rectal bleeding
- Urgent need to move bowels
- Abdominal cramping and pain
- Constipation Fever
- Appetite and Weight Loss
- Night sweats
- Loss of normal menstrual cycle
In severe cases, Crohn’s can lead to tears (fissures) in the lining of the anus and it was previously thought that IBD patients experience periodic flares that could be treated to eliminate inflammation and return the gastrointestinal system to a normal state. However, we now understand that Crohn’s is a progressive disease. Over time, inflammation can cause irreversible damage to the intestines, culminating in structural and functional complications such as surgery (bowel resections), abscesses, fistulas, abnormal intestinal motility, and malnutrition.
While the cause is still unknown, it involves the interplay of genetic predisposition, an abnormal immune system response, and environmental factors.
Please note: only proper testing performed by your doctor diagnose a Crohn’s disease.