Crohn's disease and colitis are forms of inflammatory bowel disease or IBD that cause chronic inflammation in your digestive tract. If you have symptoms of IBD, Jeffrey Crespin, MD, can help. He provides expert diagnosis and treatment of Crohn's disease and colitis at his three New York City locations in Manhattan. To schedule an appointment, call one of Dr. Crespin's offices in Midtown West, Midtown East, or the Upper East Side, or book your visit online today.
Crohn's disease can cause areas of inflammation in any part of your digestive tract between your mouth and your anus. However, it most often affects the lower part of your small intestine (the terminal ileum) and the upper section of your large intestine.
Inflammation from Crohn's disease may penetrate deep into the tissues and affect every layer of your intestine. It can cause narrow areas called strictures to develop, or tunnels called fistulas that go through your intestine wall and connect with other parts of your intestine or skin.
Colitis is a similar condition, but unlike Crohn's disease, it only affects the lower section of your digestive system and doesn't penetrate deeply into the tissues. As well as chronic inflammation, colitis causes ulcers to develop in the lining of your rectum and colon.
These ulcers can cause rectal bleeding, sometimes with mucus, pus, and pain. Diarrhea is common, and you might experience sudden urges to move your bowels, which you can't delay. Some people with ulcerative colitis suffer from tenesmus — a feeling that you have to push even after passing stools — and fecal incontinence.
Symptoms seen in both Crohn's disease and colitis include:
Without treatment, Crohn's disease and colitis can cause many unpleasant and sometimes dangerous complications, including skin, eye, and joint inflammation, malnutrition, toxic megacolon, and perforated colon. You're also more likely to develop colorectal cancer if you have Crohn’s disease or colitis.
Dr. Crespin is likely to prescribe medication for your Crohn's disease or colitis. Drugs called 5-aminosalicylates (5-ASAs) that reduce inflammation are typically the first he prescribes. If they don't control the inflammation, you might also need to take corticosteroids for short periods.
Many people find their symptoms of Crohn's disease and colitis become manageable or even go into remission with these medications. If you need further interventions, Dr. Crespin can prescribe immune system suppressors like azathioprine or cyclosporine, which help reduce the aggressiveness of your immune response.
Some people with Crohn's disease and colitis continue to experience severe symptoms despite taking medication. Surgery may be necessary, for example, proctocolectomy (removing your colon and rectum) and using an ileal pouch anal anastomosis procedure to reconstruct the end of your small intestine.
If you have symptoms of Crohn's disease or colitis, call Dr. Crespin and schedule a consultation, or book an appointment online today.