Gastroduodenal Crohn’s disease is characterized by chronic inflammation in your stomach or the upper part of your small intestines called the duodenum.
Crohn’s disease is one of two conditions that make up inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), along with ulcerative colitis. It causes chronic inflammation that can affect any part of your gastrointestinal tract.
The other four subtypes of Crohn’s disease are:
- Ileocolitis: The most common type of Crohn’s, causing inflammation in the lower part of your small intestines and your large intestines.
- Ileitis: Inflammation is limited to the lower part of your small intestines.
- Jejunoileitis: Inflammation is limited to the middle part of your small intestines.
- Granulomatous colitis: Inflammation is limited to your large intestines.
Read on to learn more about gastroduodenal Crohn’s disease, including its symptoms, treatment options, and outlook.
- unintentional weight loss
- upper abdominal pain
- loss of appetite
- gastrointestinal bleeding
More severe cases can cause:
Doctors are still largely unsure of why some people develop Crohn’s disease. It’s thought to occur when your immune system attacks healthy cells in your gastrointestinal tract.
Your genetics are thought to play a role in the development of Crohn’s. Research suggests that it’s linked to more than
- smoking, which may double your risk
- consuming foods high in fat, which may slightly increase your risk
- taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which may slightly increase your risk
Compared with other types of Crohn’s disease, gastroduodenal Crohn’s seems to affect younger people and people who don’t frequently smoke.
Potential complications include:
- Stricture: Crohn’s disease can cause the walls of your intestines to thicken and block the passage of stool.
- Fistulae: Fistulae are abnormal passages that can develop in the wall of your digestive tract.
- Abscesses: An abscess is a painful infection filled with pus. They can form on inflamed parts of your digestive tract.
- Malnutrition: Intestinal obstruction and dietary changes can lead to malnutrition.
Doctors use many different tests to diagnose Crohn’s, such as:
- a physical exam
- examining your personal and family medical history
- blood tests
- stool tests
- colonoscopy to examine your rectum and lower small intestines and possibly take a biopsy
- upper gastrointestinal endoscopy (UGE) to examine your upper small intestines
- capsule endoscopy, where you swallow a tiny camera
- X-rays and computed tomography (CT) scans
- magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
Gastroduodenal Crohn’s can be difficult to diagnose since colonoscopies and UGEs may have trouble reaching the inflamed part of your digestive tract. Doctors are more reliant on imaging techniques like CT enterography and MRI enterography, where you drink a liquid to make your digestive tract stand out on imaging.
Capsule endoscopy can help doctors visualize inflammation in your small intestines, but it isn’t performed if there’s a blockage in your intestines.
Treatment for gastroduodenal Crohn’s disease is usually the same as for Crohn’s in the lower part of your digestive tract. The main treatments are medication and surgery.
You may be able to help manage your symptoms at home by:
- keeping a food diary and tracking foods that cause symptom flare-ups
- drinking plenty of water and avoiding straws to minimize swallowing gas
- eating small, frequent meals
- meal prepping before leaving home
- avoiding NSAIDs
- quitting smoking if you smoke (this can be difficult, but a doctor can help build a cessation plan that works for you)
- incorporating relaxing activities into your life, such as yoga
- getting regular physical activity, such as exercising
Gastroduodenal Crohn’s disease diet
Making dietary changes may help minimize your symptoms. It’s often recommended to minimize or avoid eating:
- high fiber foods
- high fat foods
- spicy foods
- carbonated beverages
Your doctor may recommend bowel rest if your symptoms are severe. You may need to rest your bowel for
- drinking a high nutrient liquid
- receiving liquids through a feeding tube
- starting intravenous (IV) nutrient therapy
Medications can help reduce your symptoms. Common types of medications include:
- corticosteroids, which help reduce disease inflammation
- immunosuppressants, which help reduce immune system activity
- biologics, which may be prescribed if other treatments are not working
- biosimilars, which are medications that are
highly similarto biologics that are already approved and may be prescribed if other treatments are not working antacids, which help relieve stomach irritation
If medications are not effective, your doctor may recommend surgery to remove part of your gastrointestinal tract.
Many different surgeries can be performed, but the
Surgery is also used to treat complications of Crohn’s, such as intestinal obstruction and fistulae.
It’s important to get medical attention if you notice potential signs and symptoms of Crohn’s disease, such as:
- blood in your stool
- diarrhea lasting longer than a week
- frequent stomach pain
- unintentional weight loss
- delayed growth in children
There are no known ways to prevent Crohn’s disease. Eating a Crohn’s-friendly diet, minimizing stress, and avoiding smoking may help you minimize flare-ups.
Gastroduodenal Crohn’s disease causes inflammation in your stomach and the upper part of your large intestines. Most people also have symptoms in their lower gastrointestinal tract or develop symptoms later.
Crohn’s involvement in your stomach or upper small intestines is often linked to less positive outcomes. Doctors primarily treat gastroduodenal Crohn’s with medications and surgery.