Learn the role of the inflammation in your ulcerative colitis symptoms.
Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) characterized by inflammation of the digestive, or gastrointestinal (GI) tract. In fact, Crohn’s can affect any part of the GI tract, from the mouth to the anus, but it is more commonly found at the end of the small intestine (the ileum) where it joins the beginning of the large intestine (or colon). It can also affect your eyes, skin and joints.
Up to 20% of people with Crohn’s have a blood relative who had Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). Approximately 700,000 people in the United States are affected by Crohn’s disease. Crohn’s disease can occur at any time, but most often starts between ages 15-35. Symptoms range from mild to severe.
Crohn’s is not contagious, nor is it caused by something you may have done or eaten.
Crohn’s appears to be a result of an interaction of factors
Foreign substances (antigens) in the environment may also be a cause of inflammation, or they may stimulate the body’s defenses to produce inflammation that continues without control.
Researchers believe people with Crohn’s experience an overactive immune response. As a result, the intestines become raw and inflamed (red and swollen)—chronically. This continuous, damaging inflammation occurs in the digestive tract and leads to Crohn’s symptoms.
See your doctor if you experience a persistent change in your bowel habits or if you have any of the signs and symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease. Although inflammatory bowel disease usually isn't fatal, it's a serious disease that, in some cases, may cause life-threatening complications.