Crohn’s disease is an autoimmune condition caused by the body’s immune system attacking itself. This causes patches of inflammation in the gut wall, affecting any part of the gut.
145 in 100,000 adults in the UK are affected by Crohn’s disease.
Symptoms may vary depending on the part of the gut affected and severity.
The most common symptoms include:
Some patients may develop symptoms due to complications of their Crohn’s disease including bowel obstruction, bowel leak and abnormal connections between the gut and itself or other organs.
Some patients may also develop symptoms in other parts of the body including: skin rashes, joint pain, eye inflammation, and kidney stones.
Crohn’s Disease Treatment
Treatment for Crohn’s disease is separated into two components. The first aim is to treat active symptoms (flare-up) and then once a flare-up is settled to maintain remission.
Treatment for Crohn’s disease is managed in specialist settings.
Flare-ups are typically treated with a short course of corticosteroids with other immunosuppressant medications (e.g. azathioprine, 6-mercaptopurine) depending on severity.
Remission is maintained using a stepwise approach starting with select immunosuppressants (e.g. azathioprine, 6-mercpatopurine) and adding in second line therapies (e.g. methotrexate) as required.
Some patients may require treatment with special medications made from antibodies or surgery.
Medicinal cannabis can be considered when first and second line therapies have not achieved adequate benefit in active Crohn’s disease or disease that is in remission.