As many as 3 million Americans have been diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), a chronic digestive disease comprising two conditions: Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Unlike irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), with which it’s commonly confused, IBD causes permanent changes to the digestive tract, and it can be life-threatening.
Although there’s no cure, there are more treatments than ever to help patients manage their Crohn’s disease symptoms and protect their bowel health. While conservative options can help many people, others need surgery to avoid more serious complications.
The team at Desert West Surgery is dedicated to providing the most advanced treatment options for Cohn’s disease in Las Vegas, Nevada patients, including state-of-the-art colon surgery. Here’s when our team recommends surgery as the best option for managing this type of IBD.
Quick facts about Crohn’s disease
Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis cause significant inflammation inside the digestive tract, leading to symptoms like severe belly cramps, bloody stools, chronic diarrhea, weight loss, and malnutrition. While ulcerative colitis affects only the large intestine (colon) and rectum, Crohn’s disease can affect any part of your digestive tract.
Crohn’s disease symptoms can vary in their severity. People with more mild symptoms may be able to manage their symptoms with lifestyle changes and medication. Many people require surgery to repair damaged parts of their digestive tract or to treat complications.
Crohn’s disease typically follows a cycle involving symptom flare-ups followed by a period of remission, when symptoms can be very mild or nonexistent. The inflammation that occurs during flares can be severe, often extending through multiple layers of bowel tissue.
Surgery for Crohn’s disease
Surgery cannot cure Crohn’s disease, but it can play a crucial role in managing it and preventing more serious complications. In fact, about three-quarters of people with Crohn’s disease have colon surgery at some point to help them lead healthier, more comfortable lives.
The most common reasons to have Crohn’s disease surgery include:
- Excessive bowel bleeding
- Bowel perforation
- Bowel blockage due to scar tissue
- Infections or abscesses
- Very serious inflammation
- Fistula formation
Surgery can also be a good solution when medication used to treat the disease causes very unpleasant side effects.
The type of surgery you have will depend partly on where the disease affects your bowel, the severity of the disease, and the symptoms you’re experiencing. Some surgeries focus on removing scar tissue, or opening up narrowed areas, while other surgeries remove sections of the bowel that have been badly damaged by the disease.
Custom treatment is the key to relief
Crohn’s disease affects people in different ways, and the timeline for the disease can vary, too. That’s why seeing your doctor regularly is so important when it comes to managing your symptoms and avoiding serious complications.
To learn more about surgery for Crohn’s disease and why it might be the right solution, book an appointment online or over the phone at Desert West Surgery today.