It is estimated that up to 75% of people with Crohn’s disease will need surgery at least once in their life, if not more. There are medications that can be taken to relieve symptoms, along with dietary changes, stress relief, and some herbal remedies, but they only last a long time. If there are intestinal issues that can be fatal if left untreated, Crohn’s disease surgery becomes a necessity. Although it is not considered a cure, it can dramatically improve the quality of life and even save a life.
Crohn’s disease can affect any part of the digestive system, but most often occurs anywhere along the gut and causes inflammation that affects how well the gut works. Its location and degree of severity help determine whether surgery is necessary or not. There are many common cases where a patient needs to go under the knife, and most doctors want to help relieve symptoms in other ways before recommending surgery. Some are simple and some are a bit more complicated and can be life changing.
If a bowel block occurs, you may have no choice but to have the block removed. You may notice blood in the rectum during or after a bowel movement. In this case, surgery may be needed to repair an abscess or fistula (a small tear or opening in the intestinal wall). Sometimes the area of the lower intestine or colon is perforated. Surgery is needed during these times. Each of these things can be problematic, but not all Crohn’s patients have to deal with them.
If constipation occurs along the intestine, it can prevent food from circulating. There is an operation called plastic stenosis which is used to solve this particular problem, and it is usually performed in the small intestine. This is intended to solve the problem and does not require removal.
However, there are times when the blockage or some other issue needs to be addressed by removing a section of the small intestine and then putting the two ends back together. Proctocolectomy may be necessary in cases involving the colon or large intestine. It is a complete removal of the colon and rectum. When this happens, the small intestine is often pulled upward and attached to the abdominal wall, with the waste being placed in a bag through this opening. Doctors will avoid this if possible.
Many are afraid of having surgery for Croon’s disease and they are often the ones who suffer the most. If your doctor suggests that you need surgery, you should give it serious thought before dismissing the idea. For some people there is no choice because not having surgery cannot be life threatening.