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Q: What is Crohn’s disease?

Posted January 08, 2014 in Advice Column, Greene County

A: Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It is a chronic condition that may recur at various times during a lifetime. It usually involves the small intestine, most often the lower part called the ileum. However, inflammation may also affect the entire digestive tract, including the mouth, esophagus, stomach, duodenum, appendix or anus.

The following are the most common symptoms for Crohn’s disease. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently.  Abdominal pain, often in the lower right area, diarrhea, sometimes bloody, rectal bleeding, weight loss, fever, weight loss, failure to grow, joint pain, rectal fissure and rashes.

Some people have long periods of remission when they are free of symptoms, sometimes for years. There is no way to predict when a remission may occur or when symptoms will return.

At this time there is no simple cure for Crohn’s disease; however, several methods are helpful in controlling it. The goals of treatment may include correcting nutritional deficiencies, controlling inflammation and reducing abdominal pain, diarrhea, and rectal bleeding.

Specific treatment will be determined by your child’s doctor based on the following: Your age, overall health, and medical history, the extent of the disease, expectations for the course of the disease, your child’s tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies and your opinion or preference. The symptoms of Crohn’s disease may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Consult your doctor for a diagnosis and treatment plan.

Information provided by Medicap Pharmacy, 400 N. Elm St., Jefferson, 515-386-2164.

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