Overview Of Crohn’s Disease


Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that affects the digestive tract.

It can cause inflammation and irritation in any part of the digestive tract, from the mouth to the anus, but most commonly affects the small intestine and/or colon.

Crohn’s disease can affect people of all ages.  The exact cause of Crohn’s disease is unknown, but it is believed to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

In some cases, complications of the disease can also occur, such as intestinal blockages, abscesses, and fistulas.

There is no cure for Crohn’s disease, but treatments are available to help manage symptoms and reduce inflammation.

These treatments may include medications, dietary changes, and in some cases, surgery.

Living with Crohn’s disease can be challenging, both physically and emotionally.

However, with proper management and support, it is possible for people with Crohn’s disease to lead fulfilling and healthy lives.


Coping with Symptoms

The symptoms of Crohn’s disease can vary from person to person, but some common symptoms include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Reduced appetite
  • Anemia

These symptoms can range from mild to severe and may come and go over time.


Diagnosing Crohn’s Disease

Diagnosing Crohn’s disease can be challenging, as the symptoms can be similar to those of other digestive disorders.

To make a diagnosis, your healthcare provider will typically perform the following tests:

  • Physical exam 
  • Blood tests 
  • Stool tests 
  • Imaging tests such as X-rays or CT scans, and possibly a colonoscopy or other endoscopic procedure.


Colonoscopy Explained

A colonoscopy is a medical procedure that allows a healthcare provider to examine the inside of the colon (large intestine) and rectum using a flexible tube called a colonoscope.

The colonoscope is a long, thin, flexible tube with a small camera and light on the end, which allows the healthcare provider to see the inside of the colon and rectum on a video screen.

The procedure is typically performed as an outpatient procedure in a hospital or clinic, and it typically takes between 30 minutes to an hour to complete.

The patient is given a sedative or anesthesia to help them relax and feel comfortable during the procedure.

During the procedure, the healthcare provider will insert the colonoscope into the rectum and slowly guide it through the entire length of the colon, examining the walls of the colon for any abnormalities such as polyps, ulcers, or inflammation.

If any abnormalities are found, the healthcare provider may take a small tissue sample (biopsy) for further examination or remove the abnormal tissue or polyp.

After the procedure, the patient will need some time to recover from the sedative or anesthesia. They may experience some cramping or bloating, but this typically resolves quickly.

The healthcare provider will review the results of the examination with the patient and discuss any further treatment or follow-up that may be necessary based on the findings.

Colonoscopy is an important diagnostic tool for detecting colon cancer and other gastrointestinal disorders and is recommended for people over the age of 50, or for those with a family history of colon cancer or other risk factors.


Tips For Managing Symptoms

There is no cure for Crohn’s disease, but treatment options are available to help manage symptoms and reduce inflammation.

Some common treatment options include:

  • Medications: A variety of medications can be used to treat Crohn’s disease, including anti-inflammatory drugs, immunosuppressants, and biologic agents.
  • Dietary changes: Some people with Crohn’s disease find that certain foods trigger their symptoms. Working with a registered dietitian can help identify trigger foods and create a diet plan that works for you.
  • Surgery: In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove damaged sections of the digestive tract or to address complications such as intestinal blockages or fistulas.

Living with Crohn’s disease can be challenging, but there are many resources available to help manage symptoms and provide support.

In addition to working closely with your healthcare provider, you may find it helpful to connect with others who are living with Crohn’s disease through support groups or online communities.

It is also important to prioritize self-care, including getting regular exercise, managing stress, and getting enough sleep.

With the right treatment and support, it is possible to live a fulfilling life with Crohn’s disease.


The Impact on Quality of Life with Crohn’s Disease


Crohn’s disease can have a significant impact on a person’s quality of life, both physically and emotionally.

The chronic inflammation and other symptoms associated with Crohn’s can make it difficult to participate in daily activities and can cause ongoing discomfort and pain.

Additionally, the emotional toll of living with a chronic illness can lead to feelings of anxiety, depression, and social isolation.

Physical Impact
One of the most obvious ways that Crohn’s disease can impact quality of life is through its physical symptoms.

Abdominal pain, diarrhea, and fatigue can make it difficult to participate in work, school, or other activities.

In some cases, the physical impact of Crohn’s disease can lead to hospitalizations, surgeries, or other medical interventions, which can further disrupt daily life and add to the financial burden of the disease.

Emotional Impact
The emotional impact of living with Crohn’s disease should not be overlooked. The unpredictability of symptoms and the need for ongoing medical management can lead to feelings of anxiety and stress.

The physical symptoms of Crohn’s disease can also impact self-esteem and body image, particularly if weight loss or other physical changes occur.

Social isolation can also be a significant issue for people with Crohn’s disease.

The need for frequent bathroom breaks or dietary restrictions can make it difficult to participate in social events or to feel comfortable in public spaces.

This can lead to feelings of loneliness or even depression.

Living with Crohn’s disease can be challenging, but with the right support and management strategies, it is possible to maintain a fulfilling life.

Crohn’s and Clinical Trials

Patients diagnosed with Crohn’s disease and suffering moderate to severe symptoms are invited to join our research and clinical trial to test the effectiveness and safety of new medications and therapies.

Our Crohn’s Disease clinical trials are planned and conducted by GI medical providers and medical researchers over an agreed-upon duration.

Volunteering will allow you to receive the newest Crohn’s Disease treatments from experts, receive regular updates on your progress, and help other Crohn’s Disease patients by contributing to the discovery and development of effective cures and treatments.

If you’re interested in volunteering in our Crohn’s disease clinical trials, please contact us so we can discuss the details.

Why Join Us? 

Being part of Spoke Research studies allows you to learn more about your health condition and contribute to the larger body of medical knowledge about Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

As a research participant, your contributions to the study are invaluable in helping other Inflammatory Bowel Disease patients receive more effective future interventions.

If you want to know more about our current and future studies and how you can participate, please call or send us an email. We would love to discuss with you the details and find out how we can work together.


Contact the Experts

Dr George and Dr Deetlefs are clinical investigators at Spoke Research Inc and became involved in Clinical Research in 2017, and now runs the Inflammatory Bowel Disease trials.

If you’d like to take part in a clinical trial, join us here:

Apply for Crohn’s Disease Trial

Apply for Ulcerative Colitis Trial

We are here to provide you with expert medical advice in the field of clinical research with years of experience.

Contact us to find out more on clinical trials and treatment.


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Future treatments are now one step closer. 

Contact us

Spoke Research Inc
Mediclinic Milnerton,
Suite 109
Racecourse Rd, Milnerton
Cape Town


Mon – Thurs: 08:00-15:00
Fri: 08:00-12:00
Sat: Closed


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