Crohn's Disease in San Antonio, TX
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What is Crohn's disease?
Crohn’s disease is included in a category of conditions referenced as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). This disease produces uncomfortable swelling of the digestive tract. It usually involves the small bowel and colon, but it could possibly affect any part of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract from the mouth to the anus. Crohn’s disease is different from the other kind of IBD known as ulcerative colitis.
Crohn’s disease can affect the entirety of the bowel wall and often spreads into deeper levels of the bowel anatomy. This GI condition is typically very uncomfortable and can sometimes lead to even more serious complications. If you or a loved one are plagued with the symptoms of Crohn’s disease, we urge you to reach out to San Antonio Gastroenterology Associates. Our board-certified GI specialists in San Antonio, TX are committed to helping you improve your quality of life through effective treatment options.
What causes Crohn's disease?
The specific cause of Crohn’s disease is still a mystery, but there are some factors that appear to play a role in the onset of Crohn’s disease and its difficulties. These include:
- Immune system: It is thought that internal viruses or bacteria are likely to trigger Crohn’s disease. When our body triggers the immune system to defend against a bacteria or virus, an abnormal immune system reaction can attack the harmless cells in the digestive tract as well. As a result, parts of the small intestine and the colon become inflamed.
- Genetics: A person may inherit genetic material from a parent/or parents that can raise the chance of developing Crohn’s disease. As many as 20% of people with Crohn’s disease have a family member who also shares the disease or another inflammatory bowel disease. It is most often found in people between the ages of 20 and 30.
What are the symptoms of Crohn's disease?
Typically, symptoms of Crohn’s disease appear gradually and can range from mild to severe. Symptoms of Crohn's disease include:
- Sudden weight loss
- Underdevelopment in children
- Abdominal pain
- Rectal bleeding
- Stomach cramps
- Pain or drainage around or near the anus
- Mouth sores
- Blood in the stool
- Disruption of the normal menstrual cycle
Contact San Antonio Gastroenterology Associates at once if you become aware of persistent changes in your bowel habits, or are experiencing any of the following symptoms:
- Unexplained weight loss
- Severe and/or persistent abdominal pain
- Fever lasting more than a day
- Bloody stool
- Ongoing diarrhea
How is Crohn's disease treated?
Currently, there is no known cure for Crohn’s disease, and since it affects each individual differently, its treatment will likely vary. The main goals of Crohn’s disease treatments are to control the swelling that triggers symptoms, and then reach and maintain remission. In the best-case scenario, the disease can go into long-term remission in a patient who is given the proper care. Crohn’s disease can be treated with one of, or a combination of, the following treatment options.
Antibiotics: Antibiotics can help eliminate bacteria that trigger the abnormal immune system response, which causes inflammation. These are not a mainstay of therapy but may be used in collaboration with additional therapies.
Anti-inflammatory medications: Corticosteroids or steroids can be administered to reduce swelling while in the process of choosing a long-term treatment plan. Corticosteroids help reduce inflammation in the body and can be utilized in addition to immune system suppressors.
Long-term anti-inflammatory therapies: These therapies tackle the body’s unusual immune response to viruses and bacteria. Some of the immunosuppressant medications your San Antonio Gastroenterology Associates gastroenterologist can prescribe include: methotrexate, natalizumab, vedolizumab, ustekinumab, azathioprine, infliximab, adalimumab, and certolizumab.
Diet: A gastroenterologist may recommend special nutritional protocols to alleviate symptoms and aid in reaching remission.
Surgery: Some people with Crohn’s disease may require surgery to treat blockages, fistulas, infection, or bleeding if medication is not helping. Others may need surgery to extract the damaged portion of the intestine.
Medications for symptoms: Certain supplements and medications might also be recommended to assist in the management of Crohn’s disease symptoms. These might include:
- Vitamin B-12 shots
- Vitamin D and calcium supplements
- Iron supplements
Assistance is available for Crohn's disease in San Antonio, TX. Get in touch with San Antonio Gastroenterology Associates today to learn more about possible options for care.
Can Crohn's disease cause health complications?
Intestinal blockage can form in those who have Crohn’s disease. A blockage occurs when the bowel wall thickens or swells from inflammation and scar tissue. In addition, ulcers can sometimes cause tunnels to grow through inflamed areas of the bowel to surrounding intestinal tissue or even other organs.
If you suffer from Crohn’s disease, you may lack adequate amounts of protein, vitamins, or calories usually gleaned from the food you consume. This can happen as a result of being unable to absorb nutrients from the food, experiencing an upset stomach that prevents you from consuming enough food, or losing protein through the intestine.
Additional complications caused by Crohn’s disease sometimes include:
- Dermatological issues
- Swelling of the eyes or mouth
- Kidney stones
Is Crohn's disease fatal? Expert care for Crohn's disease
Crohn’s disease is not a fatal disease. If not addressed properly, however, an individual with Crohn’s disease may develop health problems over time that can be fatal. San Antonio Gastroenterology Associates has information on several clinical research trials and treatment programs to help manage the symptoms and enhance the lives of anyone struggling with Crohn’s disease.
Expert care for Crohn's disease
At San Antonio Gastroenterology Associates, our team understands the impact Crohn’s disease can have on your overall wellness and everyday life. Our board-certified gastroenterologists specialize in treating GI diseases such as Crohn’s disease, and we are dedicated to offering expert, personalized service to each of our patients. To connect with a physician in San Antonio, TX who specializes in treating Crohn’s disease, we urge you to contact one of our locations today.
Crohn's Disease FAQs
How is Crohn’s disease detected?
Diagnosing Crohn's disease is typically accomplished by using one or more tests. Our San Antonio Gastroenterology Associates providers may begin the diagnostic process by learning about your health history, signs or symptoms, and family history of Crohn’s or IBD. After performing a physical exam, they may prescribe endoscopic tests (such as an EGD and a colonoscopy) and lab work involving fecal and blood samples. MRIs, CT scans, and additional diagnostic imaging procedures might also be performed to confirm a Crohn's disease diagnosis.
Is Crohn’s disease a progressive condition?
Crohn’s disease is a long-term, chronic medical condition that can vary among individuals. Although its symptoms may vary from slight to acute, the severity can fluctuate. This condition can worsen as time goes on, and flares may ensue.
Does Crohn’s disease ever go away?
Currently, there is no cure for Crohn’s disease. In some instances, the disorder may fall into remission if it is not active. Undergoing treatment for Crohn's disease and taking steps to diminish inflammation might help manage the condition and relieve its symptoms.
Can diet affect Crohn’s disease?
Dietary habits do not appear to cause Crohn’s disease. While there might be certain types of foods that trigger flare-ups of Crohn's disease or certain symptoms, these can vary from person to person. Ask your GI specialist about any potential dietary modifications you might incorporate to help alleviate the effects of Crohn's disease.
Professional every step of the way. Good people. I'd recommend them to friends and family.
Love the convenience of having procedure done on Saturday! Dr. Guerra and his staff are fantastic!
I've known Dr. Guerra since I was 19 years old. He is an incredible physician and all around nice guy. I consider him as family and trust every recommendation he makes to help keep my Crohn's Disease in check.
Knowledgeable, listens well, cured me of longstanding issue.
Wonderful staff excellent doctor