Avera Medical Minute: Coping With Crohn's Disease - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Avera Medical Minute: Coping With Crohn's Disease

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Susanne Ruhnke was diagnosed at age 21 with Crohn's. Susanne Ruhnke was diagnosed at age 21 with Crohn's.

Crohn's Disease is a form of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) that involves ongoing inflammation of the gastrointestinal and/or digestive tract.  It's typically considered a younger person's disease. If you make it into your late 30's and 40's, Doctor's say you more than likely won't get Crohn's. Once you get Crohn's, you have it forever. Although, new medicines on the market can put your symptoms into remission. The key is finding one that works for you and that's where your Gastroenterolgist is key.  We talked to a Pierre woman who has dealt with Crohn's disease her whole adult life.

Susanne Ruhnke is counting her blessings for calm days spent chatting with her daughter Shauna Hoffman on her deck. At 21, she was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease. A chronic inflammatory disease of the intestines.

Susanne says, "Life is really unknown. One day is perfect, the next day it would hit you. You'd be down. It was really hard to travel because you didn't know when the symptoms would hit you."

Crohn's Disease can involve any area of the GI tract from your esophagus to the rectum, but it most commonly affects the ileocecal region. The last few inches of the small intestine which moves digesting food to the beginning portion of the large intestine. In a span of 20 some years Susanne has had 30" of her large intestine removed and 25" inches of her small intestine.

Dr. Steven Condron with the Avera Gastroenterology Clinic says, "We have learned it runs in families. We think some allergen in the environment triggers an intestinal reaction so the body attacks the intestine."

Susanne's daughter Shauna says, "Mom don't you think you could describe what it feels like is always having the stomach flu?" She replied, "That's is very good description."

Susanne can attest to the symptoms. Abdominal pain, cramping, persistent diarrhea, and in some cases blood in the stool. Susanne is grateful she found the Avera Gastroenterolgy Clinic and medication that put her in to remission.

Susanne says, "I found there are therapies there that were better for the symptoms I was having and it took care of that. So it's much better now."

Coping with Crohn's doesn't have to mean flushing your life away. Susanne is proof of that.


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