Man discussing his care with his PCP

Our Experience Helps Patients Live Better with Crohn’s Disease

The AdventHealth Digestive Institute has a special focus on caring for patients who have autoimmune, inflammatory bowel conditions such as Crohn’s disease. Crohn’s disease involves chronic inflammation that can be located anywhere in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. The condition causes ulcers that can develop anywhere from the mouth to the anus, but are most commonly found in the small intestine. However, one of the ways Crohn’s disease differs from ulcerative colitis is that diseased areas can appear in multiple areas of the GI tract, with healthy tissue in between. Crohn’s does not necessarily affect only the colon as colitis does.

Besides causing bothersome symptoms, Crohn’s disease increases the chances a person will develop cancer in the GI tract. Crohn’s can also cause bowel blockage, which can be life-threatening. Because of the condition’s potential for severe complications, it is important to be treated by a team highly experienced in treating Crohn’s disease such as the one at AdventHealth Digestive Institute.

Striving to Treat Crohn’s in the Easiest Ways for Patients

Thanks to ongoing advances in medicine, more and more patients with Crohn’s disease will never need surgery. However, if surgical treatment becomes necessary, our patients benefit from the expertise of AdventHealth Digestive Institute's advanced colon and rectal surgeons. They can perform minimally invasive surgeries that lower the chance for complications and result in faster recoveries.

Crohn’s Disease Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of Crohn’s disease can include:

  • Diarrhea that is severe and persistent
  • Abdominal pain and cramping
  • An abdominal mass that can be felt
  • A tender abdomen
  • Bloody stools
  • Constipation
  • Night sweats
  • Skin problems
  • Swollen joints
  • An ulcer in the mouth or anus

Diagnosing Crohn’s Disease

Because Crohn’s disease symptoms can be a lot like ulcerative colitis or other gastrointestinal conditions, certain tests can help doctors make an accurate diagnosis. The exact mix of tests needed depends on the type and severity of a patient’s symptoms as well as his or her medical history.

Endoscopic, imaging and lab tests that can help doctors reach a Crohn’s diagnosis include:

  • Colonoscopy with biopsy
  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy
  • Enteroscopy
  • Capsule endoscopy
  • CT scan or MRI
  • Barium enema
  • Stool tests

Crohn’s Disease Treatment – Medical Management

While a cure for Crohn’s disease does not yet exist, fortunately medicine for inflammatory bowel diseases has advanced considerably in recent years. Certain treatments help prevent flare ups and allow some patients with Crohn’s to experience significant periods of remission and avoid complications such as bowel obstruction.

The goal of medical treatment is to control the inflammation so that symptoms improve or even disappear. Medicines that can help decrease the body's inflammatory response include anti-inflammatory drugs and immunomodulators. These medicines can be given via IV or infusion, or taken orally. Sometimes antibiotics are prescribed, especially when patients have infections caused by Crohn’s disease. While the antibiotic’s purpose is to treat the infection, some patients find it also improves their other symptoms. Not every medicine used to manage Crohn’s disease works well for every patient. However, there are many different anti-inflammatory and immune suppressant drugs. Your doctor may need to adjust your medicines to find the right combination for you.

Surgery for Crohn’s Disease

Many patients with Crohn’s disease will eventually need surgical treatment. The most common reason Crohn’s patients need surgery is a bowel blockage. Other reasons for surgery include gastrointestinal bleeding, anal abscess, anal fistula or cancer.

Surgical procedures used to treat Crohn’s disease complications and symptoms include:

  • Small bowel resection. When bowel obstruction occurs in the small intestine, some or most of the small intestine may be removed. The remaining bowel is usually reconnected. If this is not possible, then a permanent ileostomy will be created so that stool has a way to exit the body. At DHI, our colon and rectal surgeons strive to offer small bowel resection as a minimally invasive rather than an open procedure. This allows patients to have a shorter hospital stay and recover faster.
  • Stricturoplasty. In certain cases, patients may be able to have an alternative to bowel resection called stricturoplasty. This procedure removes the scar tissue in the small intestine responsible for narrowing the intestine. It leaves the intestines connected, which means they work as usual after recovery. While stricturoplasty involves a long hospital recovery, it prevents short bowel syndrome which can lead to malnourishment.
  • Colectomy. This surgery removes some or all of the colon. More details about colectomy can be found on the Colorectal Surgery page.
  • Abdominoperineal resection. This surgery removes the anus, rectum, and sigmoid (lowest part of the) colon. It results in the need for a permanent external ostomy, so DHI surgeons will explore other options before considering this approach.
  • Proctocolectomy. This surgery involves removing the rectum as well as some or all of the colon. Because the anus is left intact, a J-pouch surgery (described below) may be possible. J-pouch surgery allows patients to have normal bowel movements after they have fully recovered.

J-Pouch Surgery Helps Restore Normal Function for Patients.

Removing a part of the small intestine or colon results in a need for an ostomy, or new way for stool to exit the body. However, the colon and rectal surgeons at AdventHealth Digestive Institute are experienced in offering a way to do this that preserves normal function. The procedure is called an ileal pouch anal anastomosis, but it is better known as J-pouch surgery. The benefit of J-pouch surgery is that patients are not left with a permanent need for an abdominal opening and ostomy bag.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

5 items. To interact with these items, press Control-Option-Shift-Right Arrow
  • Crohn's Disease

    Learn more about the symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of Crohn's disease

  • Ulcerative Colitis

    AdventHealth Digestive Institute gastroenterologists and colorectal surgeons focus on treatment for colitis and irritable bowel syndrome.

  • Surgical Treatment for IBD

    If medicine no longer works for treating Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, surgery may be necessary.

  • Endoscopy Services for IBD

    Our compassionate medical staff is committed to providing high-quality healthcare services in Hillsborough County.

  • Infusion Services

    Sometimes medicine works better when it’s injected directly into the bloodstream, which is where infusion therapy comes in. Learn more about infusion services today.

A person's hands holding equipment

Recover Faster With Minimally Invasive and Robotic Surgery

All the surgeons at the Digestive Health Institute (DHI) have a large depth of experience in offering minimally invasive surgery.

Meet The Experts

1 items. To interact with these items, press Control-Option-Shift-Right Arrow. These items are in a slider. To advance slider forward, press Shift-Command-Right Arrow. To advance slider backward, press Shift-Command-Left Arrow.
Shreya Patel

Shreya Patel


Nurse Practitioner

A Doctor Speaks to a Patient in the Practice Lobby

Surgical Consultations For Digestive Cancer Without The Wait

Appointments Within Five Days for Patients with Cancer

At AdventHealth Digestive Institute, we know that after being diagnosed with cancer, patients want and often need to begin treatment quickly. So we make it a priority to offer appointments for cancer surgery consultations within five business days, and often earlier.

Patients who are newly diagnosed with cancer, or have just found out they have cancer again, qualify for this priority access. Our surgeons will make themselves available to see you right away, even for a second opinion. We want to help you start your treatment as soon as possible.

News and Info

3 items. To interact with these items, press Control-Option-Shift-Right Arrow. These items are in a slider. To advance slider forward, press Shift-Command-Right Arrow. To advance slider backward, press Shift-Command-Left Arrow.
Two ladies talking while wearing masks

How to Respond When a Loved One is Hesitant About the COVID-19 Vaccine

Expert answers to some commonly asked questions and concerns about getting a coronavirus vaccine.

Dr. Sucandy in a team meeting

Digestive Institute Surgeon Gives Invited Talk, Multiple Presentations at International Laparoscopic Liver Society’s 3rd World Congress

To help promote minimally invasive surgery – which has many benefits for patients – and share their expertise, AdventHealth Digestive Institute (DI) surgeons such as Iswanto Sucandy, MD, FACS, advanced HPB (liver, pancreas and bile duct) surgeon, and Sharona Ross, MD, FACS, advanced HPB and foregut...

A pregnant woman looking at lab results in her doctor's office

Pregnancy and the COVID-19 Vaccine

Considering starting a family soon? Read more about the COVID-19 vaccine and pregnancy from our experts.