The GI Unit is a multidisciplinary group comprising several of London’s leading gastroenterologists with many years of expertise in managing Crohn’s Disease.
Crohn’s disease is a condition that causes inflammation of the lining of the digestive system; our specialist gastroenterologists at the GI Unit provide rapid assessment, diagnosis and treatment.
Inflammation usually occurs in the colon, but it can be anywhere in the digestive system, from the mouth to the anus. Most commonly it occurs in the last section of the small intestine (ileum) or the large intestine (colon).
Symptoms of Crohn’s Disease
The symptoms can range from mild to severe and can flare up at different parts of the bowel and the may be long periods with no symptoms at all.
The main symptoms include:
- Abdominal pain
- Weight loss
- Blood and/or mucus in stools
There may be long periods, lasting weeks or months, when the symptoms are very mild followed by flare ups.
Causes of Crohn’s Disease:
The cause of Crohn’s disease is unknown. However, research suggests that a combination factors are responsible for its onset. These include:
- Genetics: The genes inherited from your parents could increase your risk of developing the disease. Up to four in ten people with Crohn’s have a close relative who has the condition.
- The Immune System: Inflammation may be caused by a problem with the immune system that causes it to attack healthy bacteria in the gut.
- Previous Infection: A previous infection may cause an abnormal response from the immune system.
- Environmental Factors: Crohn’s disease is more common in westernised countries such as the UK while being less common in poorer parts of the world. This suggests that the environment has a part to play.
Diagnosis of Crohn’s Disease
A physician will initially check to see if the symptoms have been caused by diet, medication, foreign travel and then check your pulse, blood pressure and temperature.
If Crohn’s disease is suspected, a series of blood and stool tests can be taken as well as an endoscopic examination of the colon to check for bacterial infection, anaemia and signs of inflammation.
During the endoscopy a biopsy can be taken of the bowel. Diagnosis can also include X-Ray, Ultrasound, MRI, and CT scans.
A gastroenterologist will determine a treatment plan to manage the condition.
There is currently no cure for Crohn’s disease, therefore the aim of treatment is to stop the inflammatory process whilst relieving symptoms and trying to avoid surgery where possible.
Contact Us Today
To ask a question about Crohn’s Disease or to book an appointment with our expert gastroenterologists, call us on 020 7078 3802 or email us at [email protected].