Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory condition that can affect anywhere in the gastrointestinal tract. Most commonly it affects the end of the small intestine in an area called the ileum and the colon. However, as noted, Crohn’s disease can affect anywhere in the small intestine.
Crohn’s disease of the small intestine will typically present with abdominal pain, diarrhea, and rectal bleeding. Pain of the mid and lower abdomen with eating is common. Weight loss can also occur. Perforations, strictures, and fistulas of the small intestine can occur. Perforations occur when the disease causes a hole in the wall of the intestine. Strictures are narrowings in the intestines caused by inflammation and scarring. Fistulas occur when there is an abnormal communication between two hollow organs (ie: the small intestine and the bladder).
The treatment of Crohn’s disease may be medical or surgical. Medications used are anti-inflammatory medications and immunosuppressants. Surgery can be performed to remove a diseased segment of intestine, to open a stricture or to repair a fistula.