Crohn's Disease

Crohn's disease can make life difficult. At UVA Health, you'll find experts who will help you manage this chronic gastrointestinal (GI) condition. And if you need surgery, you'll find experts who focus on GI surgery.

Crohn's Disease Treatment at UVA Health

Crohn's disease can affect any part of the digestive tract from the mouth to the anus. It's important to treat this condition. Left untreated, Crohn's may lead to serious issues. We'll help you avoid:

  • Fistulas — Abnormal connections between the intestine and other organs or tissues, such as the bladder, vagina or skin
  • Intestinal obstruction
  • Arthritis
  • Eye inflammation
  • Liver disease
  • Kidney stones
  • Gallstones
  • Osteoporosis

At UVA Health, you'll have a whole team to help you manage this condition, a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Learn more about our extensive IBD care. We can help you with all aspects of treatment that may include:

Dietary Changes

No diet has been proven to reduce inflammation in patients with Crohn’s disease. But your doctor may recommend that you avoid foods that trigger symptoms. Each person may have different triggers. So consulting with a dietitian may help. 


Many types of medicines treat Crohn's disease. These include:

  • Anti-inflammatory medicines 
  • Immunomodulators
  • Biologic medications


Your doctor may recommend surgery to remove the diseased part of your intestine. We do this if:

  • Medication fails to improve the disease
  • You have an obstruction or fistula in your intestine

Even after surgery, you will be at high risk for the disease.

Are You Having Symptoms?

The cause of Crohn's disease is currently not known. Having a family member with an inflammatory bowel disease (including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis) may increase your risk. You may have Crohn's if you have:

  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal cramps and pain
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue, weakness
  • Nausea
  • Fever
  • Mouth sores
  • Sores, abscesses in the anal area

How We Diagnosis It

If you're having symptoms, you'll want to have tests to diagnose your condition. You may need:

  • Blood and/or stool tests
  • X-ray scans (Barium X-rays, CT or MRI scans)
  • Endoscopy procedures that could include:  
    • Flexible sigmoidoscopy
    • Colonoscopy
    • Upper endoscopy
    • Capsule endoscopy