Crohn disease

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Overview

Crohn's disease is a chronic disease that causes inflammation and irritation in your digestive tract. Most commonly, Crohn's affects your small intestine and the beginning of your large intestine. However, the disease can affect any part of your digestive tract, from your mouth to your anus.

Crohn's disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It causes inflammation of your digestive tract, which can lead to abdominal pain, severe diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss and malnutrition. Inflammation caused by Crohn's disease can involve different areas of the digestive tract in different people.

Symptoms

People with Crohn’s disease can experience periods of severe symptoms (flare-ups) followed by periods of no or very mild symptoms (remission). Remission can last weeks or even years. There’s no way to predict when flare-ups will happen.


If you have Crohn’s disease, symptoms you might have can include:


Abdominal pain.

Chronic diarrhea.

A feeling of fullness.

Fever.

A loss of your appetite.

Weight loss.

Abnormal skin tags (usually on your buttocks).

Anal fissures.

Anal fistulas.

Rectal bleeding

Causes

There’s no known cause of Crohn’s disease. Certain factors may increase your risk of developing the condition, including:


Autoimmune disease: Bacteria in the digestive tract may cause the body’s immune system to attack your healthy cells.

Genes: Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) often runs in families. If you have a parent, sibling or other family member with Crohn’s, you may be at an increased risk of also having it. There are several specific mutations (changes) to your genes that can predispose people to developing Crohn’s disease.

Smoking: Cigarette smoking could as much as double your risk of Crohn’s disease.

Risk factors

Age. Crohn's disease can occur at any age, but you're likely to develop the condition when you're young. ...

Ethnicity. ...

Family history. ...

Cigarette smoking. ...

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications.

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Complications

Bowel obstruction. Crohn's disease can affect the entire thickness of the intestinal wall. ...

Ulcers. ...

Fistulas. ...

Anal fissure. ...

Malnutrition. ...

Colon cancer. ...

Other health problems. ...

Medication risks.

Prevention

There’s no way to prevent Crohn’s disease. These healthy lifestyle changes can ease symptoms and reduce flare-ups:


Stop smoking.

Eat a healthy, low-fat diet.

Exercise regularly.

Manage stress.