Tyler James Williams’s Crohn’s Disease

In a recent interview in Men’s health, actor Tyler James Williams, 30, revealed he nearly passed away from Crohn’s disease 5 years ago. Williams, who originally rose to fame playing the adolescent Chris Rock on “Everybody Hates Chris,” went on to star in “Criminal Minds,” “Detroit,” and most recently “Abbott Elementary,” for which he earned and won an Emmy nomination. recently a Golden Globe.

For years, William considered himself a “hard gainer” and found it difficult to add muscle to his petite frame. Even 10 years after “Everybody Hates Chris,” Williams was still being offered adolescent roles when he wanted more age-appropriate adult roles. This led him to hire personal trainers, lift heavy weights, and force-feed himself in an effort to get bigger. But his body said otherwise. He vomited after drinking 1,600-calorie shakes, and he barely gained 130 pounds. Williams told Men’s health: “I really pushed my body to the limit. By the time December hit, it just crashed. Everything stopped.”

He had a burning stomach ache and was unable to keep food down. He was seen at NYU Langone Health in New York City, where a gastroenterologist discovered that his intestines were extremely inflamed and clogged with scar tissue, with an opening of less than 1 cm in his terminal ileum. Williams was diagnosed with a Crohn’s disease flare-up, a condition he didn’t even know he had.

Williams underwent emergency surgery to remove six inches of his intestines. However, his intestines did not heal properly and he went into septic shock, requiring a second emergency procedure. After surgery, he spent several months recovering and required parenteral nutrition.

Since that time, Williams revealed that his brother Tyrel has also been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease and the two have focused on a healthier lifestyle. He now avoids alcohol, coffee and red meat as possible causes of his illness.

“I had to learn how to stop making a dramatic change very quickly and learn how to have a better relationship with my body,” he shared. Men’s health. “The most important thing for me, and those like me, to remember is that longevity is a big part of the game. If you can’t [stay strong] and be healthy, it really doesn’t make sense.”

Crohn’s disease

Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), along with ulcerative colitis and microscopic colitis. It is a chronic disease that causes inflammation and irritation of the digestive tract. It can occur anywhere from mouth to anus, but most commonly affects the small intestine, terminal ileum, and right colon.

It is estimated that about half a million people in the US have Crohn’s disease. The incidence of Crohn’s disease in the US and worldwide is increasing, although the reason for the increase is unclear.

Crohn’s disease can develop in people of any age, but is more likely to develop in people between the ages of 20 and 29 who have a relative, usually a sibling or parent, with IBD and who smoke cigarettes.

Causes of Crohn’s disease

Crohn’s disease is an autoimmune disease. There is substantial evidence that the disease results from an inappropriate immune response in the gut to environmental factors such as drugs, toxins, infections or gut microbes in a genetically susceptible host.

More than 100 genes have been linked to Crohn’s disease. Several genetic phenotypes have been studied and found to be strongly associated with IBD. They contain NOD2, ATG16L1, IRGM, LRRK2, IL23Ramong other things.

NOD2/CARD15 mutations were found to be associated with a Crohn’s disease phenotype diagnosed at a younger age, with involvement of the ileum and increased severity of ileal disease requiring surgical intervention or reoperation.

The inflammation in Crohn’s disease is typically transmural. According to a review on StatPearls“The initial lesion begins as an infiltrate around an intestinal crypt. This first develops ulceration in the superficial mucosa and includes deeper layers. As inflammation progresses, non-casing granulomas form involving all layers of the intestinal wall. They may progress to the classic cobbled mucosa appearance and lesions along the length of the bowel skip and spare areas of normal mucosa. As the Crohn’s eruption settles, scarring replaces the inflamed areas of the bowel.”

Symptoms of Crohn’s disease

The most common symptoms of Crohn’s disease are diarrhea, abdominal cramps and pain, and weight loss. Other symptoms include:

  • Anemia
  • Eye redness or pain
  • Feeling tired
  • A fever
  • Joint pain or soreness
  • Nausea or loss of appetite
  • Skin changes with red, tender bumps under the skin

Complications can include the following:

  • intestinal obstruction: Crohn’s disease can thicken the intestinal wall; over time, the thickened areas can narrow, causing intestinal obstruction
  • Fistulas: Inflammation can pass through the intestinal wall and cause fistulas to other organs or to the outside of the body; fistulas can become infected
  • Abscesses: Inflammation that passes through the intestinal wall can also lead to abscesses
  • Anal fissures: These small cracks in the anus can cause itching, pain or bleeding
  • To swear: Inflammation anywhere along the digestive tract can lead to sores or open sores in the mouth, intestines, anus, or perineum
  • Malnutrition: Crohn’s disease can reduce intake of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients needed to maintain healthy tissues and organ functions
  • Other ignition: Inflammation in other parts of the body, including joints, eyes, and skin, can also occur

For patients with colonic Crohn’s disease, there is an increased risk of colon cancer and they should be screened like those at higher risk.


There is currently no cure for Crohn’s disease and no single treatment works for everyone. In general, the goal is to reduce inflammation that causes symptoms. A long-term goal is to reduce complications.

Treatment and management will typically consist of medication, dietary changes, and sometimes surgery.

Medical treatment with corticosteroids, including budesonide, hydrocortisone, methylprednisolone, and prednisone, reduces inflammation and decreases immune system activity.

Aminosalicylates contain 5-aminosalicylic acid (5-ASA), which helps control inflammation. These include balsalazide, mesalamine, olsalazine (Dipentum), and sulfasalazine.

Immunomodulators also reduce inflammation by reducing immune system activity. It may take several weeks to 3 months for them to show signs of improvement. Immunomodulators include: 6-mercaptopurine (6-MP), azathioprine, cyclosporine and methotrexate.

Biologic therapies target proteins made by the immune system. Neutralizing these proteins reduces inflammation in the gut. Biologic therapies can put patients into remission, especially if they don’t respond to other medications. Biologic therapies include:

  • Antitumor necrosis factor-alpha therapies, such as adalimumab, certolizumab (Cimzia), and infliximab
  • Anti-integrin therapies, such as natalizumab (Tysabri) and vedolizumab (Entyvio)
  • Anti-interleukin-12 and interleukin-23 therapy, such as ustekinumab (Stelara)

If Crohn’s disease symptoms are severe, bowel movements may be necessary for several days to several weeks. Bowel rest means drinking only certain fluids or not eating or drinking anything. During bowel movements, patients may drink nutritious fluids by mouth or through a feeding tube in the stomach or small intestine, or receive IV nutrition.

Even with medication, many people will need surgery to treat their Crohn’s disease. One study found that nearly 60% of people had surgery within 20 years of being diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. While surgery won’t cure Crohn’s disease, it can treat complications and improve symptoms. Doctors usually recommend surgery to treat:

  • Fistulas
  • Bleeding that is life-threatening
  • Intestinal obstructions
  • Symptoms, when drugs do not improve the patient’s condition

Michele R. Berman, MD, is a pediatrician turned medical journalist. She was educated at Johns Hopkins, Washington University in St. Louis, and St. Louis Children’s Hospital. Its mission is both journalistic and educational: to report on common illnesses that affect unusual people and summarize the evidence-based medicine behind the headlines.

Tyler James Williams’s Crohn’s Disease

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