From an interview with
Dr. Chad Thornhill
McLeod Pediatric Gastroenterology
Your immune system, which is supposed to protect you, can cause problems when it attacks something it doesn’t like. McLeod Pediatric Gastroenterologist Dr. Chad Thornhill explains the problem of Crohn’s Disease.
Here is a summary of Dr. Thornhill’s comments:
Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease, which is anytime your immune system decides your GI tract has something it doesn’t like. You want your immune system there to fight things that you don’t want, such as viruses and bacteria. Yet for a small handful of people, it also starts going after other parts of you. Crohn’s can be in the colon, small intestine, your stomach or even joints and skin, can have reactions to that.
The cause of Crohn’s disease is hard to pin down. It definitely has a genetic component. If you have family members with inflammatory bowel disease or any of the other autoimmune conditions, your risk for Crohn’s is increased. Other elements that play into it, including diet, recent infections, bacteria in your GI tract or even antibiotics. Yet, you can have all of that going against you and never develop inflammatory bowel disease. Or conversely, You can have all of that being perfect and still develop inflammatory bowel disease. So, we’re still working through the process of what causes it
Treatment for inflammatory bowel disease ranges from very minor to relatively invasive treatments. On the mild end, we can try diet changes or topical anti-inflammatory medicine. From that, you start advancing to steroids or medications that change the way your immune system is reacting and causing inflammation. So, the treatment is broad and very patient dependent.
Learn more about Dr. Thornhill.
Learn more about our adult GI specialists at McLeod Digestive Center in Florence or at Seacoast.