What are the complications of Crohn's disease?
The bowel shows segmental "hose pipe" thickening and shows full thickness chronic inflammation, giant cell granulomas, and fissures with acute inflammation. Fistula formation is quite common in Crohn's. Bowel obstruction is a known complication which may require surgical resection. Approximately 50% of surgical cases require additional surgery within five years because the disease tends to reappear at the site where the bowel was rejoined, and some patients eventually
develop short bowel syndrome which makes it extremely difficult to digest food. For this reason, surgery is considered by many doctors only as a last resort in the treatment of Crohn's.
Common complications of inflammation include the development of an intestinal obstruction, pus-filled pockets of infection (abscesses), and abnormal connecting channels (fistulas). Fistulas may connect two different parts of the intestine. Fistulas also may connect the intestine and bladder or the intestine and the skin surface, especially around the anus. Although fistulas from the small intestine are common, wide-open perforations are rare. The most common complication is blockage of the intestine (also called a bowel obstruction). Blockage occurs because the disease tends to thicken the intestinal wall with swelling and scar tissue, narrowing the passage. Crohn's disease also may tunnel through affected bowel into surrounding tissue such as the bladder, vagina, rectum, anus or skin. These tunnels, called fistulas, are common and can become infected. Treatment may involve medication and sometimes surgery.
When the large intestine is affected extensively by Crohn's disease, rectal bleeding commonly occurs; after many years, the risk of colon cancer (cancer of the large intestine) is greatly increased. About one third of people who develop Crohn's disease have problems around the anus, especially fistulas and cracks (fissures) in the lining of the mucus membrane of the anus. Crohn's disease may be complicated by certain disorders affecting other parts of the body—such as gallstones, inadequate absorption of nutrients, urinary tract infections, kidney stones, and deposits of the protein amyloid in several organs (amyloidosis).
When Crohn's disease causes a flare-up of gastrointestinal symptoms, the person may also experience inflammation of the joints (arthritis), inflammation of the whites of the eyes (episcleritis), mouth sores (aphthous stomatitis), inflamed skin nodules on the arms and legs (erythema nodosum), and blue-red skin sores containing pus (pyoderma gangrenosum). When Crohn's disease is not causing a flare-up of gastrointestinal symptoms, the person still may experience inflammation of the spine (ankylosing spondylitis), inflammation of the pelvic joints (sacroiliitis), inflammation inside the eye (uveitis), and inflammation of the bile ducts (primary sclerosing cholangitis).
An important complication that patients develop quite commonly is osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a condition in which the bones become porous, increasing the risk of dangerous bone fractures. This condition is increased in both men and women with Crohn's disease, especially in smokers or those who have been on steroid medications (such as prednisone). Osteoporosis can be detected by a simple test. Patients with Crohn's disease should be tested periodically for osteoporosis because it may develop at any time and can be treated.
In children, gastrointestinal symptoms such as abdominal pain and diarrhea often are not the main symptoms and may not appear at all. Instead, the main symptom may be slow growth, joint inflammation, fever, or weakness and fatigue resulting from anemia.
More information on inflammatory bowel diseases (ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease)
What are the inflammatory bowel diseases? - Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a chronic disorder that causes an inflamed and swollen digestive tract or intestinal wall.
What causes inflammatory bowel diseases? - The cause of inflammatory bowel disease is not known. Chronic inflammation present in the intestines of persons with both forms of IBD damages the bowel.
What are the symptoms of inflammatory bowel diseases? - Symptoms of inflammatory bowel diseases can include chronic diarrhea, abdominal cramps or pain, fever, and blood or mucus in the stool.
How is inflammatory bowel disease diagnosed? - To make a diagnosis of inflammatory bowel disease, a doctor must first exclude other possible causes of inflammation.
What're the treatments for inflammatory bowel disease? - Inflammatory bowel disease is treated with medication, exercise, and sometimes, surgery. Treatments for IBD are directed against the inflammation in the bowel.
What're the medications for inflammatory bowel disease? - Medications for inflammatory bowel disease include sulfasalazine, corticosteroids, immunosuppressives, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
What is Crohn's disease? - Crohn's Disease is a chronic illness that causes irritation in the digestive tract. Crohn's disease occurs in the last portion of intestine (ileum).
What types of Crohn's disease are there? - There are five subtypes of Crohn's disease, distinguished by the gastrointestinal area in which the disease occurs.
What causes Crohn's disease? - The cause of Crohn's disease is unknown. There is now evidence of a genetic link as Crohn's frequently shows up in a family group.
What are the symptoms of Crohn's disease? - The symptoms of Crohn's disease include abdominal pain, diarrhea, fever, loss of appetite and weight loss.
What are the complications of Crohn's disease? - Common complications of Crohn's disease include the development of an intestinal obstruction, pus-filled pockets of infection, and abnormal connecting channels.
How is Crohn's disease diagnosed? - The diagnosis of Crohn's disease is suspected in patients with fever, abdominal pain and tenderness, diarrhea with or without bleeding, and anal diseases.
What're the treatments for Crohn's disease? - Treatment for Crohn's disease is mainly symptomatic. Medications are very effective at improving the symptoms of Crohn's disease.
What medications cure Crohn's disease? - Medications for Crohn's disease sulfasalazine, Asacol, Pentasa and Dipentum. Mesalamine is useful both to achieve and maintain remission.
What's the surgery for Crohn's disease treatment? - Surgery to remove part of the intestine can help Crohn's disease but cannot cure it. The most used operation in Crohn disease is removing the diseased part of the intestine.
What Crohn's disease diet is suggested? - Diet may have to be restricted based on symptoms or complications of Crohn's disease. No particular food has ever been implicated in causing Crohn's disease.
Crohn's disease in children - Crohn's disease is most often diagnosed in young adulthood. Children facing Crohn's disease have significant self-image issues to deal with.
Crohn's disease and pregnancy women - Women with Crohn's disease who are considering having children can be comforted to know that the vast majority of such pregnancies will result in normal children.
What is ulcerative colitis? - Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory disease of the bowel, that usually affects the distal end of the large intestine and rectum.
What types of ulcerative colitis are there? - Doctors categorize ulcerative colitis by the amount of colon involved. Variability of symptoms reflects differences in the extent of disease and the intensity of inflammation.
What causes ulcerative colitis? - The cause of ulcerative colitis is not known, but heredity and an overactive immune response in the intestine may be contributing factors.
What are the symptoms of ulcerative colitis? - The symptoms vary according to the extent of the disease. The most common symptoms of ulcerative colitis are abdominal pain and bloody diarrhea.
What are the complications of ulcerative colitis? - Bleeding, the most common complication of ulcerative colitis, often causes iron deficiency anemia.
How is ulcerative colitis diagnosed? - Diagnosis of ulcerative colitis is suspected based on the symptoms that a patient is experiencing. The most important method of diagnosis is endoscopy.
What are the treatments for ulcerative colitis? - Treatment of ulcerative colitis depends on the location and severity of a patient's disease, the presence of complications.
What ulcerative colitis medications are available? - Medications for ulcerative colitis include 5-ASA Compounds, anticholinergic drugs, steroids, and immunosuppressive drugs.
What surgery treats ulcerative colitis? - Surgery for ulcerative colitis involves removal of the entire colon, regardless of whether all or only a portion of the colon is diseased.
Collagenous colitis and lymphocytic colitis - Collagenous colitis and lymphocytic colitis are chronic diseases in which certain kinds of white blood cells infiltrate the lining of the large intestine.