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Crohn Disease (cont.)

What Is the Progression of Crohn's? Is It Fatal?

Patients will need to visit their health-care professional regularly so that the patient's medical condition can be monitored, determine how well treatment is working, and check for relapse and return of symptoms.

The intestinal complications of Crohn's disease include:

  • Intestinal obstruction
  • Fistulas
  • Abscess
  • Hemorrhage (bleeding) - Unusual in Crohn's disease
  • Malabsorption - Results in diarrhea and nutritional deficiencies
  • Acute regional enteritis
  • Carcinoma - Colonic disease increases risk of colon cancer

What Is the Progression of Crohn's Disease? Is It Fatal?

Although Crohn's disease is a chronic illness with episodes of remission and relapses, appropriate medical and surgical therapies help affected individuals have a reasonable quality of life.

  • Crohn's disease usually has a chronic, slow course regardless of the site of involvement.
  • Medical therapy becomes less effective with time. Nearly two thirds of people with Crohn's disease require surgery for complications at some point in their disease.
  • The longer a person has Crohn's disease, the more likely they are to develop complications that can be fatal. Cancer of the digestive tract is the leading cause of death for people with Crohn's disease.
  • Crohn's disease frequently recurs after surgery.

Support Groups and Counseling for People with Crohn's Disease

Living with the effects of Crohn's disease can be difficult. Sometimes you will feel frustrated, perhaps even angry or resentful. Sometimes it helps to have someone to talk to.

This is the purpose of support groups. Support groups consist of people in the same situation you are in. They come together to help each other and to help themselves. Support groups provide reassurance, motivation, and inspiration. They help you see that your situation is not unique, and that gives you power. They also provide practical tips on coping with this disorder.

Support groups meet in person, on the telephone, or on the Internet. To find a support group that works for you, ask your health-care provider or contact the following organizations or look on the Internet. If you do not have access to the Internet, go to the public library.

  • Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America - (800) 932-2423


CDC. What Is Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)?

Farrel, R.J., et al. "Overview of the medical management of mild to moderate Crohn's disease in adults." UpToDate. Updated: Jul 28, 2016.<>

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/11/2017
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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 »

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