Colorectal DivisionCrohn's, Colitis & Diverticular Disease
Crohn’s disease is a chronic condition caused by inflammation of the digestive tract, particularly towards the end of the small intestine and throughout the large intestine. Because the exact cause of Crohn’s disease is unknown, treatment focuses on relieving symptoms, typically in the form of medication. Gastroenterologists are experts in the diagnosis and management of Crohn’s disease. However, in more advanced or complicated cases, surgery to remove the diseased part of the bowel may be recommended. Also, colon and rectal surgeons sometimes diagnose Crohn’s disease during the evaluation of various colon and rectal symptoms.
Ulcerative colitis occurs when the lining of the large bowel becomes inflamed. While its cause remains unknown, ulcerative colitis can be treated using antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medications. In some cases, ulcerative colitis does not get better with medications or the side effects of medications cannot be tolerated. In these cases, removal of the colon may be recommended. Unfortunately, patients who have had ulcerative colitis for many years are at an increased risk to develop colorectal cancer. Patients with ulcerative colitis are watched closely for precancerous signs, called dysplasia. Once dysplasia had developed, or if a person has had ulcerative colitis for many years, surgical removal of the colon is recommended.
Diverticulosis of the colon is a common condition that causes pockets to develop in the colon wall. Sometimes these pockets get infected and the condition is called diverticulitis. Mild cases of diverticulitis can be managed with oral antibiotics, dietary restrictions and stool softeners, although more severe cases may require hospitalization for intravenous antibiotics and dietary restraints. Surgery to remove the diseased part of the colon is reserved for those with recurrent or severe episodes of diverticulitis, even after receiving medication. Emergency surgery is sometimes necessary to treat severe cases of diverticulitis, especially if the colon has ruptured.