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One of the more severe illnesses included in the larger group of diseases known as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), Crohn's disease is typically a long-lasting, chronic condition. The intestine or bowel, most commonly the colon and the lower part of the small intestine, are either marked by sores or get inflamed and ulcerated. It is a common occurrence in adolescents and in young adults.
Crohn's disease is subdivided into five types, each having its own set of symptoms:
1. Ileocolitis: The most common type, it affects the colon and the ileum and results in considerable weight loss as well as diarrhea and cramps.
2. Gastroduodenal Crohn's disease: People who suffer from this type of disease have their stomach and duodenum affected and many experience symptoms like nausea, loss of appetite and weight loss.
3. Crohn's colitis: This involves only the stomach, and can cause joint pains, rectal bleeding, skin lesions and diarrheas,
4. Ileitis: This type affects the ileum and the symptoms are identical to those of ileocolitis.
5. Jejunoileitis: In this type, the jejunum gets affected and general symptoms include the formation of fistulas, diarrhea, intensive back pain as well as areas of inflammation.
Despite the uncertainty as to the nature of the specific causes of Crohn's disease, there have been a few possible causes which have been identified. These include:
1. Immune system problems
2. Genetic disorders
3. Environmental factors
a) Certain edibles
b) Viruses or harmful bacteria
The primary symptoms of Crohn's disease include the following:
1. Diarrhea: This can occur for about 10 to 20 times a day in more severe cases.
2. In rare cases, there may be blood in your stool.
3. In more intense cases, you may even develop a fever.
4. Cramping and intermittent belly pain.
5. Anemia, due to a reduction in iron levels caused by bloody stools.
6. Weight loss.
7. Erratic appearance of small tears in the anus, called anal fissures.