No one knows the cause of Crohn’s Disease, but it is classified as an autoimmune disease that affects the digestive tract. With Crohn’s your immune system confuses the lining of your digestive tract with a foreign body and attacks it, causing inflammation which, in turn, causes ulcers and bleeding. Crohn’s can be found anywhere along your digestive tract from the mouth to the anus, but is most commonly found in last segment of the small intestine and the colon.
Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis are two diseases that are both categorized as an Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). It is important to note that Inflammatory Bowel Disease should not be confused with IBS, Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
Symptoms of Crohn’s Disease can be found both inside and outside the digestive tract. Digestive symptoms include: diarrhea, abdominal pain, mouth sores, and weight loss. Other symptoms can include: fever, skin rashes, joint pain, and eye redness. Some patients, although less commonly, also have liver issues. While Crohn’s can be diagnosed at any age, the average age at the time of diagnosis is between the ages of 15 and 35.
Unfortunately, there is not a cure for Crohn’s. The disease follows a pattern of flares and remissions. Your gastroenterologist will discuss with you the best options for treatment. Following your doctor’s orders, taking your medications as prescribed, and reporting an increase in symptoms are important steps for Crohn’s patients to follow. If you or someone you love are experiencing symptoms similar to those we have described you should make an appointment with a gastroenterologist at Associates In Digestive Health for evaluation.