Crohn’s disease And Ulcerative Colitis. A Multidisciplinary Problem.
Crohn’s disease is a member of the family of diseases known as an Inflammatory Bowel Disease, or IBD for short. The other well known member of this family is ulcerative colitis (abbreviated U.C.) There are other lesser known members of this family. However, Crohn’s and U.C. are the best known and most common afflictions. If you believe that you have an inflammatory bowel disease, or you have been told that you have Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, then you are most likely bewildered right now.
Both ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s can affect many organ systems in addition to causing a wide array of symptoms; some minor, and some disabling. As such, a fairly large group of people, physicians, nurses, support personnel and, often a hospital, such as Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, are involved in the diagnosis and treatment of these disorders. Most commonly, the diagnosis is confirmed by a colon and rectal surgeon, also known as a proctologist, or by a gastroenterologist. From there, the cascade of people and places involved in your care, grows quickly.
Most likely when you begin to experience unexplainable symptoms, you will visit your family doctor or internist. Children may first visit a pediatrician. Your symptoms might include:
- Rectal bleeding.
- Rectal mucus.
- Abdominal pain or bloating or cramping.
- Joint pain.
- Visual problems.
- Skin problems.
- Nausea or vomiting.
- Anal fissures.
Given enough information, your diagnosis might be obvious. However, it may be more subtle. Most likely, a series of tests and exams will be ordered. They include:
- Blood tests.
- An endoscopy (also known as an esophagogastroduodenoscopy, or EGD).
- A Colonoscopy.
- A CT scan or ultrasound.
- Stool cultures, looking for an infectious explanation of your problem.
What And Who Next?
Once a pathologist, has demonstrated that biopsies taken at the time of your EGD or colonoscopy confirm your diagnosis, treatment will begin. Depending on whether you have U.C. or Crohn’s, different combinations of drugs will be used to induce remission, in an attempt to quiet your symptoms. These drugs may include steroids, some form of aspirin, chemotherapeutic agents, biologics (derived from anti-tumor chemicals) and possibly other medications. Hopefully these will help.
However, if the medications fail, you might need an operation such as a proctocolectomy (removal of your colon and rectum), with the creation of an IPAA (ileopouch-anal anastomosis, to re-connect you intestine), resection of part of your small intestine if you have a stricture, or narrowing, repair of a fistula (an abnormal intestinal connection) or a variety of other procedures. This is where the team of physicians and support personnel at a hospital such as Cedars-Sinai will become involved. From the time you check into the hospital, through your operative experience and into the recovery phase, the team at Cedars-Sinai works closely with the physicians of Los Angeles Colon and Rectal Surgical Associates to professionally smooth your way through the system and your recovery.
Los Angeles Colon and Rectal Surgical Associates
Although your first reaction to your illness may be one of fear, your surgeons of Los Angeles Colon and Rectal Surgical Associates will help you in many ways, from the beginning, through the entire process. You can schedule your consultation by calling (310)273-2310. The journey to health begins with the first step.