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Crohn's Disease Specialist

Hattiesburg GI Associates PLLC

Board Certified Gastroenterologists located in Hattiesburg, MS

Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease that affects about 750,000 Americans. Although there’s no cure, it’s possible to manage with healthy lifestyle changes, medications, and professional guidance. At Hattiesburg GI Associates PLLC, with two convenient locations in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, the team of board-certified gastroenterologists uses integrative, conservative measures to treat adults with Crohn’s disease. To schedule an appointment, call the office nearest you or book online.

Crohn's Disease Q & A

What is Crohn’s disease?

Crohn’s disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease that causes your digestive tract to become irritated and inflamed. When left untreated, it can cause severe abdominal pain, bloating, fatigue, weight loss, and diarrhea.

Over time, the inflammation caused by Crohn’s disease spreads deep into the layers of bowel tissue. This process significantly increases your risk of more serious health problems like bowel obstructions, fistulas, and ulcers.

What are the symptoms of Crohn’s disease?

The symptoms of Crohn’s disease vary and range from mild to severe. Telltale signs include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Abdominal pain and cramping
  • Mouth sores
  • Blood in stool
  • Reduced appetite

If you have Crohn’s disease, you might also experience pain or drainage around your anus due to inflammation.

What causes Crohn’s disease?

Researchers aren’t entirely sure what causes Crohn’s disease, but a combination of factors, including genetic traits and immune system responses, are thought to play a role. 

Sometimes, Crohn’s disease occurs due to a virus or bacterium. If your immune system tries to fight off an invading organism, an abnormal immune response may cause your immune system to attack the lining of your digestive tract. 

If you have a parent, sibling, or grandparent with Crohn’s disease, you’re more likely to develop the condition as well.

How is Crohn’s disease diagnosed?

To diagnose Crohn’s disease, your provider at Hattiesburg GI Associates PLLC conducts a physical exam, reviews your medical history, and asks about your symptoms and lifestyle. They conduct a series of tests to rule out other potential problems. 

Depending on your symptoms and health history, your provider might recommend:

  • Fecal occult blood test
  • Colonoscopy
  • Computerized tomography (CT scan)
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Olympus ENDOCAPSULE
  • Balloon-assisted enteroscopy
  • Upper endoscopy
  • Testing for celiac disease and gluten intolerance or sensitivity
  • Blood tests for anemia or infection

You might also benefit from SIBO testing. SIBO testing, or the lactulose breath test, monitors the bacteria in your digestive system. As bacteria digest food, they release gas. This gas enters your bloodstream and lungs, where you breathe it out.

How is Crohn’s disease treated?

The team at Hattiesburg GI Associates PLLC treats Crohn’s disease using a combination of healthy lifestyle changes and prescription medications. The goal of treatment is to reduce inflammation and ease uncomfortable symptoms. 

There are several prescription medications for Crohn’s disease, including anti-inflammatory drugs, immune system suppressors, antibiotics, and antidiarrheals. If your symptoms are severe, you might benefit from enteral nutrition through a feeding tube. This can improve your health while allowing your bowels to rest. 

If your symptoms don’t respond to traditional medications, you might benefit from Remicade® infusion. Remicade is a type of drug therapy delivered intravenously that blocks the action of TNF-alpha protein, a protein that causes your immune system to attack healthy cells in your gastrointestinal tract.

If diet, lifestyle changes, and medication don’t improve your quality of life, surgical intervention may be necessary. About 50% of people with Crohn’s disease need at least one surgery. During surgery, your provider removes the damaged portion of your digestive tract and reconnects it to healthier sections.

To learn more about treatment for Crohn’s disease, schedule an appointment at Hattiesburg GI Associates PLLC. Call or book a consultation online today.