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Crohn’s Disease in New Jersey

The Digestive Health & Nutrition Center has two convenient locations in Lawrenceville and Princeton New Jersey where you can receive the exceptional care you deserve. Dr. Angela Merlo, M.D. is an experienced Gastroenterologist providing exceptional care for adults and children with Crohn’s Disease.

What is Crohn’s Disease?

Crohn’s Disease is an Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) that can involve any part of the gastrointestinal tract from mouth to anus although it is most common in the part of the small intestine that joins the colon. Crohn’s Disease is characterized by inflammation of the entire wall of the digestive system. Affected areas may be patchy or continuous. There is a wide spectrum of presentations depending on what parts of the various organs are affected, the severity of the inflammation and whether infection also exists.  The hallmarks of Crohn’s disease are:

  • Fatigue
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea with or without blood
  • Fever
  • Weight loss

Affected individuals can develop iron deficiency anemia and nutritional deficiencies that jeopardize their entire health if their disease is not controlled. Stunted growth in children is a major concern.  Individuals with Crohn’s Disease can have associated maladies outside the gastrointestinal tract such as in the eyes, bile ducts, kidneys and musculoskeletal systems. The development of abscesses and sinus tracts connecting parts of the digestive system to other organs are life-threatening complications.

What Causes Crohn’s Disease?

The causes of Crohn’s disease are not known exactly but genetic factors and immune dysfunction contribute to the disease’s development. Stress and other emotional factors do not cause Crohn’s disease but can worsen symptoms. Individuals with Crohn’s disease may feel stressed or anxious when dealing with a potentially debilitating chronic illness. That is why it is important to have a dedicated Gastroenterologist like Dr. Merlo who you can trust to provide the best personal care possible.

Diagnosing Crohn’s Disease

Dr. Merlo is an expert at formulating the most accurate diagnosis from a variety of avenues. She will first listen to the details of your symptoms. She may then recommend specific laboratory tests, colonoscopy or upper endoscopy with biopsies, capsule endoscopy of the small intestine or CT scans to help her reach the most accurate diagnosis.  It is crucial to eliminate the possibility of other diseases that have similar symptoms. Dr. Merlo will also correctly assess the location and severity of the Crohn’s Disease so she can formulate the best possible treatment plan for you.

What Treatments are Available?

Proper nutrition and correction of coexisting nutritional deficiencies are an important part of very treatment plan formulated by Dr. Merlo. Proper nutrition can help reduce the need for prescription medication. Today, patients with Crohn’s Disease have a number of treatment options. Mild disease is usually easily controlled with anti-inflammatory medications. Immune modulators and newer biologic agents are available for patients with more severe disease. Interventional radiologic draining of abscesses may be required when antibiotics alone are insufficient.  Surgical intervention may be required to alleviate blockages.  Dr. Merlo is eager to address your concerns about your particular situation.

If you have symptoms, or have been diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease, contact the Digestive Health & Nutrition Center in Lawrenceville or Princeton New Jersey today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Merlo. Dr. Angela Merlo is an experienced Gastroenterologist specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of Crohn’s Disease in adults and children.