How to Diagnose and Treat Crohn’s Disease

Crohn's Disease

Crohn's disease is a bowel disorder that causes inflammation in the digestive tract leading to abnormal pain, fatigue, severe diarrhea, and weight loss, among others. The inflammation can affect different areas of the digestive tract and may lead to life-threatening complications. Although there is no known cure for Crohn's disease, an expert Santa Monica, CA internal medicine physician can prepare a regimen of dosed medical cannabis that can provide relief and bring long-term remission.

Recognizing Symptoms

The symptoms of Crohn's disease are similar to those of other intestinal disorders, such as ulcers and irritable bowel syndrome. The symptoms may vary from mild to severe, differing from person to person. They include diarrhea, abdominal pain and cramping, ulcers, blood in your stool, fistula, weight loss and loss of appetite.

Crohn's disease begins as scattered sores on the intestinal surface, which become large ulcers that penetrate deep into the intestinal walls. The disease causes inflammation, which causes intestinal cells to secrete abnormal amounts of water and salt that cannot be completely absorbed by the colon, leaving excess fluid, which causes diarrhea. Due to the inflammation, portions of the bowel swell and thicken, affecting normal bowel movement causing pain and cramping. The bowel itself or the inflamed tissue may bleed.


Know when to seek medical care, and do it immediately you experience the early symptoms. Early symptoms include feeling faint and having a weak and fast pulse, experiencing severe stomach pain, having an unexplained fever and shaking that lasts for a day or two, blood in your stool, repeated vomiting, and ongoing diarrhea that doesn't respond to over-the-counter drugs.

The doctor will carry out a few tests to confirm if you have Crohn's disease. If you do, he or she may refer you to a specialist for further diagnostic testing, such as blood tests to check for anemia, colonoscopy to view the inside of the colon, flexible sigmoidoscopy to examine the sigmoid area in the colon, barium enema to evaluate your large intestine with an x-ray, and CT scans for more detail.

Dietary Changes

Although there's no sufficient scientific evidence that what you eat causes the disease, certain types of foods and beverages may aggravate the condition, and others may help ease it and prevent flare-ups. Patients with colonic disease will benefit from fiber supplementation because dietary fiber can be converted to fatty acids that heal the colon. Most patients with Crohn's disease are lactose intolerant, thus they would do well to avoid dairy products.

Avoid foods that cause bloating and gases, and limit your intake of greasy, fried or fatty foods, as they can interfere with healthy digestion. Try eating small portions of food throughout the day to avoid placing excess strain on the digestive system. However, every Crohn's patient is different and has their own unique food tolerances. Identify yours and make an effort to avoid them.

Treatment Options

Crohn's symptoms can be managed by a variety of medications and drug therapies. The doctor will prescribe a specific medication depending on the specific nature of your disorder. Common drug treatments include anti-inflammatory drugs, which reduce inflammation by targeting the immune system, antibiotics which can heal abscesses and fistula, antidiarrheal agents for those suffering from diarrhea, bile acid sequestrants for patients who don't absorb bile acids, and a host of other medications that relieve symptoms of Crohn's disease. If all the above methods fail, the doctor may recommend surgery.

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