What Is Crohn's Disease?

Crohn’s disease is an ongoing disorder that causes inflammation of the digestive tract. It can affect any area of the gastrointestinal tract (GI), from the mouth to the anus, but it most commonly affects the lower part of the small intestine. Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease, the general name for diseases that cause swelling in the intestines.

What is the Cause of Crohn's Disease?

Several theories exist about what causes Crohn’s disease but none have been proven. The immune system is made from cells and proteins that protect people from infections. The most popular theory is that the body’s immune system reacts abnormally in people with Crohn’s disease, making bacteria , foods, and other substances mistaken for being foreign. The immune system’s response is to attack these “invaders”, which causes inflammation, ulcerations, and bowel injury.

What are the Symptoms of Crohn's Disease?

The most common symptoms of Crohn’s disease are abdominal pain, often lower right area, and diarrhea. Rectal bleeding, weight loss, arthritis, skin problems and fever may also occur. Bleeding can also lead to anemia. Some children who have Crohn’s disease may suffer from delayed development or stunted growth.

Treatment for Crohn's Disease

Treatment may include drugs, nutritional supplements, decreasing stress, surgery, or a combination of these options. The goals of treatment are to control inflammation, correct nutritional deficiencies and relieve symptoms like abdominal pain, diarrhea, and rectal bleeding. There is no cure for Crohn’s disease.

Does Diet or Stress Effect Crohn's Disease?

No special diet has been proven effective for preventing or treating Crohn’s disease, but it is very important that people with Crohn’s disease follow a nutritious diet and avoid any foods that seem to worsen symptoms. Also there is no evidence showing that stress causes Crohn’s disease. However, people with Crohn’s disease sometimes feel increased stress in their lives from having to live with a chronic illness.