is an idiopathic and chronic intestinal inflammation affecting mainly the distal ileum or colon
, but it may occur in any part of the gastrointestinal tract from the mouth to the anus.
The presentation of Crohn’s disease is highly variable. The course of the disease is characterized by periods of remission and exacerbation. Some patients may be free of symptoms for years, while others experience chronic problems in spite of medical therapy.
Crohn's disease may occur at any age. It most often occurs in people between ages 15-35.
SymptomsMain symptoms of Crohn's disease are:
Symptoms outside the GI tract can include:
- Abdominal pain
- Persistent diarrhea (which may be bloody if inflammation is severe)
- Urgent need to move bowels
- Loss of appetite, weight loss and nutritional deficiencies
- Malaise and fever
What causes Crohn's disease?
- Joint pain and swelling
- Liver inflammation
- Skin problems
- Sores or swelling in the eyes
- Autoimmune reaction - Researchers believe bacteria or viruses can mistakenly trigger the immune system to attack the inner lining of the intestines. This immune system response causes the inflammation, leading to symptoms.
- Genetic factors - Crohn's disease sometimes runs in families
- Environmental factors – Crohn's disease is most common in westernised countries, and least common in poorer parts of the world. Risk factors for Crohn's Disease include smoking, lefthandedness, adult appendectomy, infections and use of oral contraceptives, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and antibiotics