Crohn's Disease FAQs
Sandeep Mukherjee, MD, MB, BCh
Simmy Bank, MD, MB, ChB
Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD
BS Anand, MD
Venkatachala Mohan, MD
What is Crohn's disease?
Crohn's disease (also spelled Crohn disease) is a chronic disease of the digestive tract that is characterized by inflammation. It can affect any part of the digestive tract from the mouth to the anus, but usually involves the small intestine (the duodenum, the jejunum, and especially the ileum) and/or the area around the anus. Although it is a potentially serious disease, many medications are now available to help patients' symptoms and reduce the development of complications.
What is inflammation?
Inflammation is a response of the immune system, which protects us from infections and other outside
"invaders." When the digestive tract becomes inflamed, the tissue becomes red, swollen, and thickened. Painful ulcers develop and may bleed. This damage causes bothersome and embarrassing symptoms.
What are the symptoms of Crohn's disease?
The symptoms depend on which part of the digestive tract is affected, but diarrhea and abdominal cramps are almost universal. Weight loss, fatigue, and feeling "blah" are typical. Some people have pain with a bowel movement, blood in the stool, and/or rectal bleeding.
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