What is Crohn's disease?

Crohn's disease is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which is a chronic condition that may recur at various times over a lifetime.

It usually involves the small intestine, and in some cases, both the small and large intestine are affected.

Sometimes, inflammation may also affect the entire digestive tract, including the mouth, esophagus, stomach, duodenum, appendix or anus.

What causes Crohn's disease?

Crohn's disease is a complex disease with many interacting causes:

  • Genetics—inherited genes that increase the risk of Crohn's disease
  • Environmental triggers—cigarette smoking, intestinal infections, diet, stress, and use of certain medications
  • Abnormal immune system—glitches in the body's immune system that make it react too strongly to environmental triggers

What are the symptoms of Crohn's disease?

  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Fever
  • Weight loss
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Abscesses (boils) near the anus
  • Mouth sores
  • Joint pains

Types of Crohn's disease

Inflammation of the last part of the small intestine, the ileum

Inflammation of the colon

Inflammation of both the ileum and the colon

Perianal disease
Abscesses and fistulas near the anus

Less common forms
Crohn's disease of the upper gastrointestinal tract (stomach and duodenum) and the jejunum (middle part of the small intestine)

The disease may be associated with inflammation in other organs, such as the eyes, skin, joints, and liver

Diagnosing Crohn's disease

Crohn's disease treatment

Crohn's disease is a chronic illness meaning it is treatable but not curable.

Our team's goal is to control your symptoms and put the disease in remission. The usual goals of treatment are to control nutritional deficiencies, control inflammation and relieve abdominal pain, diarrhea and bleeding.

Treatment plans for patients will be determined by their care team based on age, medical history, type of Crohn's disease and personal preferences.

Explore our comprehensive digestive care services

Crohn's disease treatment options may include:

  • Medicine
  • Diet Supplements
  • Surgery
    • Drainage of abscesses
    • Ostomy
    • Ileostomy
    • Colostomy
    • Ileoanal reservoir surgery
  • Clinical trials (when appropriate)

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