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What is a treatment management plan?

How may Crohn's disease affect me?

Treatment options for Crohn's disease

Medications available

Making the most of my treatment

Complementary/ Alternative medicine

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Crohn's disease

Treatment plan for Crohn's disease

How may Crohn's disease affect me?

Crohn's disease is a chronic (long-term) disease that causes inflammation of the digestive tract. The symptoms come and go in attacks, or flares.

Crohn's disease belongs to a group of illnesses called inflammatory bowel disease, or IBD. Ulcerative colitis is another type of IBD which affects the colon (large intestine) and rectum.

Inflammation (swelling, redness and sores) from Crohn's disease can happen anywhere along the digestive tract, from mouth to anus, although it usually affects the walls of the large intestine (colon) or the small intestine, or both. The most common symptoms are pain and tenderness in the abdomen, especially the lower right side, and diarrhoea. Some people may have constipation. Other symptoms may include weight loss, bloody diarrhoea, slight fever, anaemia (low levels of red blood cells in the blood which can make you feel tired, faint or breathless), exhaustion and (in children) slowed growth and delayed puberty.

There are also several possible complications from Crohn's disease. Scarring and thickening of the intestine walls can create a narrowing of the intestine wall, which is called a stricture, leading to constipation, bloating and pain. The intestine walls may become fully blocked (called an obstruction), which can cause severe pain and vomiting that must be treated in the hospital. Another possible problem is a fistula, or tunnel caused by infection that goes from one part of the intestine to another or to the skin. Nutritional problems can occur if the body is unable to absorb proteins, vitamins or minerals. Crohn's disease may also prevent the body from absorbing calcium and vitamin D, which can lead to osteoporosis (bone density loss). If you have any of these problems, you may need specific treatment.

Crohn's disease can also be related problems in other parts of the body, such as joint pain or arthritis, inflammation in the eyes and mouth, gallstones, liver diseases, skin rashes, anaemia (low red blood cell count) or kidney stones. These problems may improve with treatment for Crohn's disease, but sometimes need treatment on their own.



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