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.
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The cause of Crohn's disease is not known.
Inflammatory bowel diseases,
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.
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 include: DiarrheaAbdominal cramps and painRectal bleedingWeight lossFatigue, weaknessNauseaFeverMouth soresSores, abscesses in the anal areaAntibiotics
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 skinIntestinal obstructionLiver diseaseBowel perforationBleedingKidney stonesGallstonesOsteoporosis
Treatment may include:
Your doctor may advise that you avoid foods that trigger symptoms.
These foods are different for each person. They may include: Dairy foods due to lactose intoleranceHighly seasoned foodsHigh-fiber foods
There are many types of medications that are used to treat Crohn's disease. Examples of these medications include: Aminosalicylate medications, such as
and olsalazineAnti-inflammatory medications, such as
and budesonideImmune modifiers, such as
and methotrexateTNF inhibitors, such as
and certolizumabAntibiotics, such as
Very severe Crohn's may not improve with medications. You may be advised to have the diseased section of your intestine removed. The two remaining healthier ends of the intestine are then joined together. You are still at high risk for the disease returning.
Surgery may also be done if you have an obstruction or fistulas.
Women may be able to reduce their risk of Crohn's disease through exercise. Talk to your doctor about an exercise program that is best for you.
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http://www.ccfa.org/what-are-crohns-and-colitis/what-is-crohns-disease/. Accessed December 18, 2014.
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7/6/2015 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Kim DH, Carucci LR, Baker ME, et al. American College of Radiology appropriateness criteria for Crohn disease. Available at: http://www.acr.org/~/media/ACR/Documents/AppCriteria/Diagnostic/CrohnDisease.pdf. Updated 2014. Accessed July 6, 2015.
7/21/2015 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Ungaro R, Bernstein CN, Gearry R, et al. Antibiotics associated with increased risk of new-onset Crohn's disease but not ulcerative colitis: a meta-analysis. Am J Gastroenterol. 2014;109(11):1728-1738.
Last reviewed December 2014 by Daus Mahnke, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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