Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory disease that may affect the small or large intestine, the rectum and the mouth. A non-perforating more indolent type develops slowly over time while a perforating type has a more aggressive progression.
The clinical manifestations suggest the extent of the disease. Initial signs and symptoms include intermittent episodes of abdominal cramping and pain, fever and loose stools. Due to impaired absorption in the gastrointestinal tract and possible perforations, patients may suffer from electrolyte imbalance, vitamin B12 deficiency, anemia and leukocytosis.
Recurrent oral mucosal ulcerations may be an early and persistent sign of Crohn’s disease and may correlate with disease activity. Patients may also develop oral candidiasis and swellings of the lips and gingiva .
Symptomatic relief can be achieved with loperamide, psyllium powder and methylcellulose.
Prescription medications may include aminosalicylates, glucocorticosteroids, and different types of antibiotics. Immunomodulators are also used, such as azathioprine, 6-mercaptopurine, infliximab, adalimumab, certolizumab, natalizumab and methotrexate, which also has anti-inflammatory properties.