Crohns disease is long term inflammation and irritation in the digestive tract. It is a type of inflammatory bowel disease. Crohns disease can affect any of the tract from mouth to anus. It is more common in the end of the small intestine or beginning of large intestine. Crohns can have flare ups and periods of no symptoms called remission.
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It is not clear what causes Crohns disease. Genes, the environment, and problems with the immune system may all play a role.
The risk of Crohns disease is higher in those with:
Flare ups of Crohns disease may cause:
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and past health. A physical exam will be done. Blood and stool tests will be done to look for any problems and rule out other issues. Scopes can be done to look for areas of inflammation. This can be done with:
A sample of intestine may be removed with a scope for biopsy. The sample will be sent to a lab for testing.
Special dyes may also be used to help highlight the intestines in other image tests such as:
There is no cure. Flare up treatment will manage symptoms and try to avoid other problems from starting. Treatment may also be used during remission to prevent flare ups. The treatment plan can vary. Some step may include:
Other treatment may be needed to treat other problems caused by Crohns.
There are no known methods to prevent Crohns disease.
Crohn's & Colitis Foundation
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Crohn's and Colitis Canada
Crohn disease. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/gastrointestinal-disorders/inflammatory-bowel-disease-ibd/crohn-disease. Accessed March 16, 2021.
Crohn disease in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/crohn-disease-in-adults. Accessed March 16, 2021.
Crohn's disease. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/crohns-disease. Accessed March 16, 2021.
Lichtenstein GR, Loftus EV, et al. ACG Clinical Guideline: Management of Crohn's Disease in Adults. Am J Gastroenterol. 2018 Apr;113(4):481-517.
What is Crohn's disease? Crohn's & Colitis Foundation website. Available at: http://www.crohnscolitisfoundation.org/what-are-crohns-and-colitis/what-is-crohns-disease. Accessed March 16, 2021.
Last reviewed December 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Daniel A. Ostrovsky, MD