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Causes, Types and Symptoms of Crohn's Disease

Written and reviewed by
Dr. Bhavin Vasavada 91% (217 ratings)
FELLOWSHIP IN ADVANCED LIVER SURGERY AND LIVER TRANSPLANTATION, FELLOWSHIP IN HEPATOBILIARY AND LIVER TRANSPLANT SURGERY, MASTER OF SURGERY, MBBS
Gastroenterologist, Ahmedabad  •  14 years experience
Causes, Types and Symptoms of Crohn's Disease

One of the most severe illnesses included in the larger group of diseases, is 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. 

Types : 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 of Crohn's disease 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.

Causes: Although there are many theories about what causes Crohn's disease, none of them have been proven. However, there have been a few possible causes which have been identified. These include:

  1. Immune system problems
  2. Genetic disorders
  3. Environmental factors, such as: a) Certain edibles, b) Viruses or harmful bacteria, c) Smoke.

Symptoms: The primary symptoms of Crohn's disease include the following:

  1. Diarrhea: Diarrhea is a common problem for people with Crohn's disease and can occur for about 10 to 20 times a day in severe cases.
  2. Blood in your stool: In rare cases, you might notice blood in the toilet bowl or darker blood mixed with your stool.
  3. Fever and fatigue: In more intense cases, you may develop a fever. You may also feel tired or have low energy.
  4. Abdominal pain and cramping: You may experience anything from slight discomfort to severe cramping and intermittent belly pain, including nausea and vomiting.
  5. Anemia: Due to a reduction in iron level caused by bloody stools a person can turn anemic.
  6. Reduced appetite and weight loss: Abdominal pain and cramping can affect both your appetite and your ability to digest food, which leads to severe weight loss.
  7. Perianal disease: Erratic appearance of small tears in the anus are called anal fissures.
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