Crohn's Disease 101
Crohn's Disease is one of many inflammatory bowel diseases, or IBDs, that people can develop.
"The person's immune system is actually recognizing your intestine as a foreign invader that it needs to attack," explains Sarah Bligh, gastroenterologist with Mercy Medical Center, "And that causes inflammation in the bowel, which can lead to symptoms and discomfort."
Crohn's Disease can sometimes be difficult to diagnose, because the symptoms of abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and blood in the stool are common symptoms of other conditions.
It is diagnosed by a colonoscopy test, and is often discovered at a younger age.
"The most common time for Crohn's Disease to start is in people's teenage years or early twenties," says Bligh, "But it can happen however at any point in time in a person's life."
Crohn's Disease is not a one-time thing. Oftentimes, people experience flare-ups.
"Typically symptoms of a flare up with Crohn's Disease once you've been diagnosed will be very similar to the symptoms you had when you were first diagnosed, although hopefully when you've been on therapy the symptoms would not be as severe," says Bligh.
Currently, Crohn's Disease does not have a cure, but it does go into remission with constant care.
"So many patients do have to be on medication chronically to keep it under control, but it is possible with therapy for people to live a normal life," says Bligh.