Crohn's Disease

(CD; Regional Enteritis)

Definition

Crohn's disease is a severe, chronic inflammatory bowel disease. It causes inflammation, ulcers, and bleeding in the digestive tract. It usually affects the end portion of the small intestine called the ileum. However, any part of the digestive tract can be affected, from the mouth to the anus.
Small Intestine
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Causes

The cause of Crohn's disease is not known. Inflammatory bowel diseases, such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease, seem to run in some families. Some researchers think that it is due to a reaction to a virus or bacteria that causes the immune system to overreact and damage the intestines.

Risk Factors

People of Jewish heritage are more likely to get Crohn's disease. Your risk may also be increased if you have family members with inflammatory bowel disease or other autoimmune diseases.

Symptoms

Symptoms include:
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal cramps and pain
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue, weakness
  • Nausea
  • Fever
  • Mouth sores
  • Sores, abscesses in the anal area
  • Antibiotics
Complications of untreated Crohn's disease may lead to:
  • Fistulas—abnormal connections between the intestine and other organs or tissues, such as the bladder, vagina, or skin
  • Intestinal obstruction
  • Liver disease
  • Bowel perforation
  • Bleeding
  • Kidney stones
  • Gallstones
  • Osteoporosis

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