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Crohn's Disease

Crohn's disease can be unpredictable, with periods of remission where symptoms disappear

Crohn's Disease

What is Crohn's Disease?

Crohn's disease is a chronic inflammatory disorder that can affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract, from the mouth to the anus. However, it predominantly impacts the ileum (the last part of the small intestine) and the beginning of the colon. This condition is part of a group of diseases known as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The inflammation caused by Crohn's disease is deeply penetrating, which distinguishes it from ulcerative colitis, another type of IBD that only affects the superficial layer of the colon. The variability in the location and depth of the inflammation can result in a wide range of symptoms and complications, making the management of the disease unique for each patient. Gastroenterologists are specialists in Crohn's disease.

Symptoms of Crohn's Disease

Symptoms can vary significantly from one person to another and depend on the part of the gastrointestinal tract affected. Here is a list of the most common symptoms:

  • Abdominal pain and cramps

  • Severe diarrhea

  • Fatigue

  • Involuntary weight loss

  • Rectal bleeding

  • A feeling of fullness in the abdomen

  • Fever

  • Mouth and anal ulcers

It is crucial to understand that Crohn's disease can be unpredictable, with periods of remission where symptoms disappear and active phases where symptoms worsen.


The exact cause of Crohn's disease remains unknown. However, research suggests a combination of factors:

  • Genetics: A hereditary predisposition may play a role.

  • Immune system: A deregulated immune response may initiate inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract.

  • Environmental factors: Some lifestyle habits and environmental factors may increase the risk.

Risk Factors

Several factors can increase the risk of developing Crohn's disease:

  • Family history: Having a close relative with the disease.

  • Smoking: Smoking is the most important modifiable risk factor.

  • Age: Although it can occur at any age, it is usually diagnosed before age 30.

  • Geographic location and ethnicity: People living in industrialized countries and certain ethnicities have a higher incidence.

  • Use of certain medications: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can increase the risk.


Diagnosis of Crohn's disease by a Gastroenterologist involves a combination of tests and procedures:

  • Medical history and physical examination: Initial evaluation to identify symptoms and risk factors.

  • Blood tests: To look for signs of infection or anemia.

  • Stool studies: To rule out other causes of gastrointestinal symptoms.

  • Colonoscopy: The Gastroenterologist can directly examine the colon and terminal ileum.

  • Endoscopy: Allows imaging of the small intestine.

  • Imaging tests: CT or MRI can detect complications or the extent of the disease.

Treatment for Crohn's Disease

Treatment aims to reduce inflammation, alleviate symptoms, and maintain remission. There is no cure, but effective management can offer a significantly improved quality of life. Treatments include:

  • Medications: Anti-inflammatories, immunosuppressants, and biological therapies are the pillars of pharmacological treatment.

  • Nutrition: Although diet does not cause or cure the disease, certain changes can help manage symptoms.

  • Surgery: Necessary when medications fail to control symptoms or to correct complications such as intestinal obstructions.

When should I see a doctor for Crohn's disease?

If you experience persistent symptoms like those described for Crohn's disease or concerns related to the digestive system, it is crucial to consult a Gastroenterologist. Early diagnosis and proper treatment are essential for managing Crohn's disease and improving quality of life.

Make your appointment at BlueNetHospitals with Gastroenterology specialists, who will help you manage your condition and improve your quality of life. Don't wait for symptoms to worsen; make your appointment today and take the first step towards better health management.


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