Crohn’s Disease

Crohn's disease is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) characterized by inflammation of the digestive tract. It can affect any part of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, from the mouth to the anus, but most commonly involves the end of the small intestine (ileum) and the beginning of the large intestine (colon). Crohn's disease is a lifelong condition with no known cure, and its exact cause is not well understood.

The inflammation associated with Crohn's disease can extend deep into the layers of the affected bowel tissue and often occurs in a patchy manner, leaving some areas of the intestine healthy while others are inflamed. This can lead to a variety of symptoms, including abdominal pain, diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss, and malnutrition.

The disease can also cause complications such as strictures (narrowing of the bowel), fistulas (abnormal connections between different parts of the intestine or between the intestine and other organs), and abscesses. Additionally, Crohn's disease can involve other parts of the body beyond the digestive tract, leading to symptoms such as joint pain, eye inflammation, and skin problems.

The exact cause of Crohn's disease is not known, but it is believed to involve a combination of genetic, environmental, and immune system factors. There is currently no cure for Crohn's disease, but various treatment options, including medication, lifestyle changes, and in some cases, surgery, can help manage symptoms and improve the quality of life for individuals with the condition. It is important for individuals with Crohn's disease to work closely with healthcare professionals to develop a personalized treatment plan tailored to their specific needs.

Howard Seth Meiselman, DO

Medically reviewed by Howard Seth Meiselman, DO — Written by Mark Conklin: Editorial Process