Crohn disease

Crohn disease is a chronic inflammatory condition that causes ongoing inflammation of the intestinal tract from the mouth to the rectum. It is similar to ulcerative colitis, another inflammatory bowel disease. But ulcerative colitis is usually confined to the innermost layer of the large intestine and rectum. Crohn disease can occur anywhere in the intestine, often in patches surrounded by healthy tissue, and can spread deeper into the tissues. Symptoms include chronic bloody or watery diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, and loss of appetite. Symptoms may come and go, with the disease becoming active or going into remission several times during the person's lifetime.

Crohn disease can cause intestinal obstructions, ulcers (most often in the lower part of the small intestine, the large intestine, or the rectum), fistulas (hollow passages from one part of the intestine to another), and anal fissures (a crack in the anus or the skin around the anus that can lead to infection). In addition, people with Crohn disease are at risk of malnutrition, because their intestine cannot absorb all the nutrients they need from their diet.

Crohn develops mostly between the ages of 20 to 40, although children and older adults may also develop the condition. There is no cure for Crohn disease. Medication and diets can help control the condition and sometimes bring about long-term remission. Some people with Crohn disease will require surgery to remove part of the digestive tract. However, surgery does not cure the disease.

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Review Date: 3/25/2015  

Reviewed By: Steven D. Ehrlich, NMD, Solutions Acupuncture, a private practice specializing in complementary and alternative medicine, Phoenix, AZ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.

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