Surgery can be a scary, intimidating treatment option for Crohn’s disease. Here’s what you should know.
Crohn’s disease can affect any part of your gastrointestinal tract, from your mouth to your anus. The disease affects each person differently and this means there are a wide variety of treatment recommendations. Depending the location and severity of your symptoms, surgery may be a viable or necessary option. Approximately 75% of people with Crohn’s disease will elect to have surgery at some point in their lives.
Below, we have listed some of the more common causes for surgery. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms you should speak to your physician immediately, as surgery may be necessary. The particular type of surgery you receive is dependent on the type and severity of each symptom.
Symptoms that may require surgery
- Intestinal blockage
- Excessive bleeding in the intestine
- Perforation of the bowel
- Fistula and/or ulcers on the wall of intestines or other organs
- An abscess
- Severe inflammation causing toxic megacolon
Reasons for Surgery
A necessary or urgent surgery is one that must be done to prevent serious injury or death. These must be done quickly and should be considered an emergency. Some of the more severe Crohn’s disease symptoms require necessary or urgent surgery.
A scheduled surgery that deals with a symptom that is not immediately life threatening. Some Crohn’s patients choose to have an elective surgery, because they can help to alleviate symptoms that are not life threatening. However, many elective surgeries are done to avoid having to have an urgent surgery in the future.
Just because a surgery is elective does not mean it is “less important” or “less major” than a necessary or urgent surgery.
What can you do?
The wide variety of causes and number of potential surgeries can be intimidating. If you or a loved one has Crohn’s disease, the best thing you can do is to be aware of your symptoms including their frequency and severity. If you notice any changes or new symptoms you must tell your doctor immediately. If you consider surgery, make sure you discuss and understand the risks. For more major surgeries and any elective surgeries, it is also recommended to get multiple opinions on the risks and benefits of the procedures.
Preparing for surgery
There are always danger inherent to surgery, even if it is minor. The best way to prepare for surgery is to be aware of your symptoms so that surgery can be done when it is most beneficial. The next best way to prepare is to be as mentally or physically fit as you can be. A healthy body can make the surgery less dangerous and the recovery easier.
- Stay positive
- Stay hydrated
- Eat a healthy diet