Blog Post

Everything You Need to Know About Crohn’s Disease

According to the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation, at least 1 in every 100 Americans has a form of inflammatory bowel disease. Crohn's disease is one of the forms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that leads to inflammation and irritation in the intestinal tract.

If you've recently had a Crohn’s disease diagnosis, it's pretty overwhelming, especially when you don't know all the facts. Learning more about the disorder helps you understand how to proceed with your life.

At Gateway Gastroenterology, our specialists are experts in GI disorders like Crohn’s disease. Our 6 GI specialists help you understand the condition and provide care through every step of diagnosis and treatment.

The facts about Crohn’s disease

Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel problem in which your body’s immune system attacks the intestinal tract, specifically the large and small intestines. It’s a chronic autoimmune disorder that currently has no cure.

Any part of the GI tract can suffer the consequences of Crohn’s disease, although it’s most common in the intestines. Inflammation and abdominal symptoms are the most prevalent issues related to Crohn’s.

Anyone can have Crohn’s disease, but certain people are at a higher risk. Risk factors for developing the disorder include:

  • Stress
  • Smoking
  • Genetics
  • Age
  • Having had an appendectomy

Different forms of Crohn’s disease affect the body, depending on where the inflammation occurs. Prevalent forms of Crohn’s disease include colitis, ileitis, and perianal disease.

Signs and symptoms of Crohn’s

The symptoms of Crohn’s disease are different for everyone and may range in severity. They may come on slowly over time or hit you suddenly during an intense flare.

Some people have mildly chronic symptoms that are just enough to interfere with everyday activities. In contrast, others have extreme symptoms that warrant an evaluation. The typical signs and symptoms of Crohn’s disease include:

Symptoms related to Crohn’s disease often cause problems in the GI tract, but Crohn’s can affect other parts of the body. If you’re living with Crohn’s, you may have the following conditions or symptoms outside of the GI tract:

  • Kidney stones
  • Osteoporosis
  • Joint pain
  • Eye inflammation
  • Skin tags
  • Rashes

Any of the above symptoms cause concern, especially if they continue despite changing your diet and attempting home care. Our team carefully evaluates your symptoms to determine if Crohn’s is the culprit.

Crohn’s disease complications

Without proper treatment, Crohn’s disease can lead to severe complications. The inflammation and irritation in the GI tract may lead to other severe issues, including:

  • Anemia
  • Bowel obstructions
  • Fistulas
  • Abscesses
  • Anal fissures
  • Malnutrition

You're also at an increased risk for blood clots and colon cancer when you’re living with Crohn’s disease. The best way to prevent these complications is to receive early treatment to reduce inflammation and allow the intestines to heal.

Treatment and management of Crohn’s

Unfortunately, no definitive cure exists for Crohn’s disease, but we can manage it through various strategies and treatments. Not every therapy works for everyone, and you may require several different medications and lifestyle changes to manage your symptoms.

At Gateway Gastroenterology, our team manages Crohn’s disease individually. Some of the treatments you may require include:


Medications aim to reduce inflammation in the GI tract and allow tissues to heal. We often utilize corticosteroids, immunomodulators, and antibiotics to manage Crohn’s disease. You may also require pain medications or antidiarrheals to help with symptoms.


Getting proper nutrition can be challenging when you’re living with Crohn’s, especially if you don’t have an appetite. We work with you to ensure you’re eating healthy foods that help reduce inflammation in the intestines.

Sometimes, people require nutrition through a feeding tube if their nutritional needs aren’t attainable orally.


Severe cases of Crohn’s disease may require surgery, especially if you have fistulas, intestinal blockages, or perforations in the intestinal wall. Surgery can help you prevent severe complications and repair damage from Crohn’s disease.

To learn more about our Crohn’s disease treatments, call one of our offices in Chesterfield, St. Louis, and Ballwin, Missouri, at 314-529-4900. You may also request a consultation on our website.