Crohn's Disease

Also called: Regional enteritis, Regional ileitis

Crohn's disease causes inflammation of the digestive system. It is one of a group of diseases called inflammatory bowel disease. Crohn's can affect any area from the mouth to the anus. It often affects the lower part of the small intestine called the ileum.

The cause of Crohn's disease is unknown. It may be due to an abnormal reaction by the body's immune system. It also seems to run in some families. It most commonly starts between the ages of 13 and 30.

The most common symptoms are pain in the abdomen and diarrhea. Other symptoms include

  • Bleeding from the rectum
  • Weight loss
  • Fever

Your doctor will diagnose Crohn's disease with a physical exam, lab tests, imaging tests, and a colonoscopy.

Crohn's can cause complications, such as intestinal blockages, ulcers in the intestine, and problems getting enough nutrients. People with Crohn's can also have joint pain and skin problems. Children with the disease may have growth problems.

There is no cure for Crohn's. Treatment can help control symptoms, and may include medicines, nutrition supplements, and/or surgery. Some people have long periods of remission, when they are free of symptoms.

NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

Symptoms of Crohn's Disease

The following features are indicative of Crohn's Disease:
  • diarrhoea
  • fever
  • fatigue
  • abdominal pain and cramping
  • blood in the stool
  • mouth sores
  • reduced appetite
  • weight loss
  • perianal disease

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Common Causes of Crohn's Disease

The following are the most common causes of Crohn's Disease:
  • weakened immune system
  • hereditary factor

Risk Factors for Crohn's Disease

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Crohn's Disease:
  • young age
  • whites and people of Eastern European (Ashkenazi) Jewish descent
  • family history of Crohn's disease
  • cigarette smoking
  • nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications
  • living in urban area or in an industrialized country

Prevention of Crohn's Disease

Yes, it may be possible to prevent Crohn's Disease. Prevention may be possible by doing the following:
  • limit dairy products
  • take low fat foods
  • limit fiber intake
  • eat small meals
  • drink plenty of liquids
  • take multivitamins
  • avoid spicy food

Occurrence of Crohn's Disease

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Crohn's Disease cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Rare between 10K - 50K cases

Common Age Group

Crohn's Disease most commonly occurs in the following age group:
  • Aged between 20-50 years

Common Gender

Crohn's Disease can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Crohn's Disease

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Crohn's Disease:
  • Tests for anemia or infection: To diagnose anemia
  • Fecal occult blood test: To find blood discharge in the stool
  • Colonoscopy: To find out the presence of inflammatory cells
  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy: To examine the last section of colon
  • Computerized tomography: To examine bowel as well as tissues outside the bowel
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): To check the development of fistula around anal area
  • Capsule endoscopy: To perform detailed image analysis of the internal organs
  • Double-balloon endoscopy: To look further into the small bowel

Doctor for Diagnosis of Crohn's Disease

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Crohn's Disease:
  • Gastroenterologist
  • General Surgeon
  • Pathologist
  • Radiologist

Complications of Crohn's Disease if untreated

Yes, Crohn's Disease causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Crohn's Disease is left untreated:
  • inflammation
  • bowel obstruction
  • ulcer
  • fistulas
  • anal fissure
  • malnutrition
  • colon cancer

Procedures for Treatment of Crohn's Disease

The following procedures are used to treat Crohn's Disease:
  • Surgery: To widen a segment of the intestine that has become too narrow

Self-care for Crohn's Disease

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Crohn's Disease:
  • Limit dairy products: Helps preventing inflammatory bowel disease symptoms
  • Try low-fat foods: Helps treating Crohn's disease of the small intestine
  • Limit fiber food: Helps in preventing symptoms from worsening
  • Avoid smoking: Helps preventing crohn's disease

Alternative Medicine for Treatment of Crohn's Disease

The following alternate medicine and therapies are known to help in the treatment or management of Crohn's Disease:
  • Acupuncture therapy: Helps managing crohn's disease
  • Intake of prebiotics and probiotics: May help in treating crohn's disease

Patient Support for Treatment of Crohn's Disease

The following actions may help Crohn's Disease patients:
  • Awareness about the disease: Helps providing information and coping with condition
  • Join a support group: Helps coping with situation

Time for Treatment of Crohn's Disease

While time-period of treatment for each patient may vary, below is the typical time-period for Crohn's Disease to resolve if treated properly under an expert supervision:
  • In 1 - 3 months

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 2/04/2019.
This page provides information for Crohn's Disease.
Colonic Diseases
Ulcerative Colitis

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