Crohn’s disease belongs to a group of conditions known as Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD) and is a chronic inflammatory condition that affects the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Although often associated together, Crohn’s is not the same as ulcerative colitis. Crohn's disease occurs when the body attacks “good” bacteria in your GI tract that aid in digestion and immune support.
Crohn’s disease commonly affects the end of the small intestine and colon, but can affect any part of the GI tract. Signs and symptoms vary and can range from mild to severe. When active, signs and symptoms of Crohn’s disease may include:
The causes of Crohn’s Disease are unknown. Though it can occur at any age, most people are diagnosed before age 30. Diet and stress may aggravate Crohn’s, but they do not cause the disease. Factors including heredity, genetics and environment may also play a role.
Your digestive health provider will likely diagnose Crohn’s disease only after ruling out other causes of your symptoms. A combination of diagnostic tests and procedures may be used, including colonoscopy and endoscopy.
Treatment for Crohn's disease usually involves drug therapy or, in some cases, surgery. There is currently no cure. However, properly managed, long-term remission is possible and many people are able to function well. Treatment for Crohn's typically focuses on managing symptoms, limiting complications and improving patient prognosis.