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Swollen lips could be a symptom of Crohn’s disease, says leading gastroenterologist

Swollen lips could be a red flag to GPs that a patient is suffering from Crohn’s disease, according to a leading gastroenterologist.

The condition is a chronic inflammatory condition, as is Crohn’s, and Kingston Hospital consultant Dr Rishi Goel says there could be some overlap in the conditions, suggesting a link.

Around 115,000 people in the UK suffer with Crohn’s disease, the debilitating digestive condition that often sees patients suffer with diarrhoea, stomach cramps and weight loss.

Around 80 per cent of patients who have the disease need part of their intestine removed because damage to it can hamper digestion. 

Swelling of the lip area is known as orofacial granulomatosis (OFG) and a link between the two disorders has been highlighted by research before, although some experts have disputed the claim.

Gastroenterologist Dr Rishi Goel who has spent nearly a decade studying Crohn’s disease

Dr Goel, who has spent nearly ten years studying the connection between swollen lips and Crohn’s disease, told MailOnline: “OFG is a chronic inflammatory condition which can flare up intermittently.

“Interestingly, it can overlap with Crohn’s disease, which is a chronic inflammatory condition of the gut and carries a 75 per cent lifetime risk for surgery.”

The NHS’s list of Crohn’s disease symptoms doesn’t include swollen lips but research by Dr Goel’s team suggests practitioners should consider it when diagnosing.

Currently Crohn’s disease is managed with a drug that suppresses the protein TNF, which causes inflammation in the body – but a long term cure for the condition remains elusive.

 

CROHN’S DISEASE COMMON SYMPTOMS

  • Diarrhoea
  • Abdominal pain and cramps
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Blood and mucus in faeces
  • A high temperature of 38ºC (100ºF)
  • Nausea
  • Joint pain and swelling
  • Swollen eyes and skin
  • Mouth ulcers

 

Kingston Hospital, London