Crohn’s Disease Specialist

Park Avenue Women's Center

OB-GYNs located in Yorkville, Upper East Side, New York, NY

Some women who experience persistent bouts of diarrhea, bleeding, and abdominal pain may be diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease, including ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. These are chronic illnesses affecting the intestinal tract. Dr. Gila Leiter, Dr. Shari Leipzig, and Dr. Douglas Moss at Park Avenue Women’s Center in New York City have extensive experience helping their patients with Crohn’s disease and colitis have healthy, vibrant pregnancies and safe delivery of their children. If you have questions about Crohn’s or colitis, or would like to learn more, please call their Yorkville, Upper East Side office or book an appointment online today.

Crohn's Disease Q & A

Park Avenue Women's Center

What is Crohn’s disease?

Crohn’s disease belongs to a group of disorders called inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It’s a long-term disease that may come and go throughout your life. Crohn’s disease commonly affects the small intestine, but may also be found in both the small and large intestines.

 

What causes Crohn’s disease?

Although the exact cause hasn’t been determined, Crohn’s disease may arise from an autoimmune response to bacteria or environmental factors.

You may be at a higher risk of developing Crohn’s disease if you:

  • Have a family history of Crohn’s disease
  • Come from Ashkenazi Jewish descent
  • Smoke cigarettes
  • Take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications

 

What are the symptoms of Crohn’s disease?

The symptoms of Crohn’s are caused by patches of inflammation that can penetrate deeply into the walls of your intestine. Although it’s known for the associated pain and diarrhea, your symptoms depend on where the disease occurs.

When your Crohn’s is active, you may experience one or more of these symptoms:

  • Diarrhea
  • Painful cramping in your abdomen
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Blood in stool
  • Poor appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Tearing or drainage around your anus

 

Can Crohn’s cause symptoms outside your gastrointestinal tract?

Inflammatory bowel disease can affect other systems in your body, including your bones, joints, skin, eyes, and lungs. These symptoms may appear before, during, or after you have active gastrointestinal problems.

About 21-40% of patients develop symptoms such as:

  • Joint pain
  • Red, tender bumps under your skin
  • Red, painful, inflamed eyes
  • Delayed growth in children

 

How is pregnancy managed in women with Crohn’s or colitis?

The team at Park Avenue Women’s Center work closely with your gastroenterology team to help optimize your overall health and family-planning goals. They have taken care of pregnant women with Crohn’s and colitis throughout their careers and are comfortable with all aspects of your healthcare needs.

Your treatment plan often includes:

Medication

Several medications are available to reduce inflammation, help with abdominal pain, and stop diarrhea. In severe cases, inflammation is treated with medications to suppress your immune system.

Supplements

Crohn's disease may cause a deficiency in vitamin B-12 and iron so that you may be taking nutritional supplements. Patients with Crohn's disease are also at risk for developing osteoporosis, requiring supplemental calcium and vitamin D. Bone density testing is performed at Park Avenue Women's Center. When repeated over time it can show changes in bone strength. As perimenopause approaches and natural hormone levels decrease, bone loss may occur. This will be helped with an exercise plan, though sometimes medication is necessary.

Diet

In some cases, you may need an elemental diet, which consists of liquid nutrients that are easily absorbed. You may also need to avoid or limit foods that worsen symptoms, which could include milk, fiber, and hot spices.

Surgical intervention

It’s estimated that half of all patients with Crohn’s disease have at least one surgery to alleviate symptoms. During surgery, the damaged portion of your intestine may be removed and the ends reconnected.

Don’t continue to suffer from diarrhea and abdominal pain. If you have these symptoms, the doctors at Park Avenue Women’s Center are here to help you get proper care. Call or book an appointment online today.