Font Size

Crohn Disease (cont.)

What Are the Symptoms and Signs of Crohn's Disease?

Crohn's disease is intermittent. This means that the inflammation occurs (flares) without warning and then goes away (goes into remission) over time. It is impossible to predict when the condition will flare, how long the flare will last, and when it will flare again. Most people feel pretty well when their disease is not active.

The most common symptoms in Crohn's disease are those related to the inflammatory damage to the digestive tract.

  1. Diarrhea: Waxes and wanes; stool may contain mucus, blood, or pus
  2. Pain in the abdomen: Crampy or steady; in the right lower part of the abdomen or around the belly button; often relieved temporarily by having a bowel movement
  3. Bloating after eating: Less common, usually seen in cases of bowel obstruction
  4. Constipation Usually seen in cases of bowel obstruction
  5. Pain or bleeding with bowel movement
  6. Infection of the urinary tract or vagina: Suggests a fistula from the intestinal tract

General symptoms occur in some but not all cases.

Other symptoms of Crohn's disease may be attributable to related medical conditions affecting the skin, joints, mouth, eyes, liver, and bile ducts.

What Causes Crohn's Disease?

The exact cause of Crohn's disease remains unknown.

  • Current theories suggest that genetics, environment, diet, blood vessel abnormalities, and/or even psychosocial factors cause Crohn's disease.
  • Probably the most popular theory is that Crohn's disease is caused by the immune system overreacting to infection by a virus or bacterium.
  • Crohn's disease apparently is not caused by emotional distress.
  • Crohn's disease definitely runs in families. People who have Crohn's disease may have an inherited predisposition to abnormal immunologic response to one or more provoking factors.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/11/2017
Medical Author:

Must Read Articles Related to Crohn Disease

Abdominal Pain (Adults)
Abdominal Pain in Adults Abdominal pain in adults can range from a mild stomach ache to severe pain. Examples of causes of abdominal pain in adults include learn more >>
Abdominal Pain in Children
Abdominal Pain in Children Abdominal pain in children can range from trivial to life-threatening. Some possible causes of learn more >>
Anal Abscess
Anal Abscess Anal abscesses include perirectal abscess and perianal abscess. Both types of abscesses need immediate medical attention. Causes of anal abscesses include indiv...learn more >>

Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Crohn's Disease (What Is Crohn's Disease?):

Crohn's Disease - Symptoms

What symptoms did you experience with your Crohn's disease?

Crohn's Disease - Diagnosis

How was Crohn's disease diagnosed in your case?

Crohn's Disease - Medications

What medications have been successful in treating Crohn's disease symptoms?

Crohn's Disease - Surgery

Please describe your experience with Crohn's disease and surgery.

Crohn's Disease - Experience

Please describe your experience with Crohn's disease.

Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Crohn Disease »

Crohn disease is an idiopathic, chronic, transmural inflammatory process of the bowel that often leads to fibrosis and obstructive symptoms, which can affect any part of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract from the mouth to the anus.

Read More on Medscape Reference »

Medical Dictionary