Complications of Crohn's Disease
Intestinal Complications of Crohn's Disease Explained
The following sections look at some of the intestinal complications of the disease, including other parts of the body that may be affected.
Sore or Ulcer
The cells that make up the lining of the intestines are shed and replaced on a regular basis in a healthy body. But when the lining of the intestine is irritated, cells may be shed more frequently, causing ulcers or other sores to form. These sores and ulcers are most common in the last part of the small intestine (ileum), the colon, or rectum. However, they can occur anywhere in the digestive tract, including the mouth and anus.
Ulcers can be serious if they go through the intestines and damage an artery. This can lead to life-threatening bleeding.
Sores and ulcers can become deep and tunnel through the different layers of the intestines and into the tissues of nearby organs, such as:
- The rectum
- Other parts of the intestine
- The bladder
- The vagina
- The skin.
These tunnels are called "fistulas," and can become infected. Fistulas usually require special treatment, such as medication or even surgery.
An abscess is a collection of pus that has formed due to an infection. Abscesses often form as a result of a fistula. An abscess must be drained in order for it to heal. At first, a needle may be guided into the area with the help of a CT scan. This is known as needle aspiration.
If this is not successful, surgery may be recommended to drain the abscess or even remove the infected portion of bowel. An example is a perirectal abscess.