Crohn's Disease - Symptoms and Causes (2023)


What is Crohn's disease? A Mayo Clinic expert explains

Learn more about Crohn's disease from gastroenterologist William Faubion, M.D.

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William A. Faubion, Jr., M.D., Gastroenterology, Mayo Clinic:I'm the dr. Bill Faubion, a gastroenterologist at the Mayo Clinic. In this video, we'll cover the basics of Crohn's disease. What's that? Who understands? Symptoms, diagnosis and treatment. Whether you're looking for answers for yourself or a loved one, we're here to provide you with the best information available. Crohn's disease is an inflammatory bowel disease that causes chronic inflammation of theSoldiertract, which extends from the stomach to the anus. different areas ofSoldierThe tract can be affected in different people and often spreads to the deeper layers of the intestine. It is estimated that more than half a million Americans are living with Crohn's disease. It can be painful and debilitating, occasionally leading to serious complications, as well as emotionally stressful. And while there is no cure, once diagnosed, treatment can help you return to a more normal and comfortable life.

Who understands?

There are many details that contribute to or exacerbate Crohn's disease, but the exact cause is still unknown. It may be an abnormal immune response against a microorganism in which its tissues are also attacked. Genetics can also play a role. And it is true that you are more at risk if a first-degree relative has it. But this is only seen in around 20% of cases. There is a correlation with age. Although it can appear at any stage of life, most people are diagnosed before the age of 30. Ethnicity is a risk factor. Whites are most at risk, especially among people of Ashkenazi Jewish descent. However, the incidence is increasing among blacks in North America and the United Kingdom. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs... do not cause Crohn's disease, but are known to trigger inflammation of the intestine and make it worse. They include common over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen, naproxen sodium, diclofenac sodium, and others. So if you've been diagnosed with Crohn's disease, talk to your doctor about which medications to avoid. Many of these elements are out of our control, but smoking is the most important controllable risk factor for developing Crohn's disease. It also leads to more serious disease and a greater need for surgery. So if you smoke and have been diagnosed, now is a good time to quit.

What are the symptoms?

Crohn's disease can affect any area of ​​the body.Soldierbut it is found mainly in the large and small intestine. It can also be limited to one area or be found in multiple segments. Symptoms can vary in severity and may depend on the area of ​​theSoldiertract that is affected. You may also experience periods of remission when you don't have any symptoms or problems. Symptoms can come on gradually, but they can also come on suddenly. And these can include diarrhea, fever, fatigue, abdominal pain and cramps, blood in the stool, mouth sores, reduced appetite, and weight loss. If your Crohn's disease has caused inflamed fistulas or tunnels in the skin near your anal area, you may experience pain or drainage. And in more severe cases, you can have inflammation of the eyes, skin, joints, liver or bile ducts, kidney stones and anemia. In children, it can slow growth and development. Over time, Crohn's disease can lead to other complications, such as intestinal obstruction, ulcers, fistulas, anal fissures, malnutrition, and other health problems. It can also increase the risk of blood clots and colon cancer. Having these symptoms does not automatically mean that you have Crohn's disease. But if you're experiencing something that worries you, it's a good idea to make an appointment with your doctor.

How is it diagnosed?

(Video) Crohn’s Disease Signs and Symptoms (& Why They Occur), and Complications & Deficiencies

There is no single test for Crohn's disease and it has symptoms similar to many other conditions, so it can take a while to get a diagnosis. First, your doctor will consider your medical history. Then your doctor may want to perform a variety of tests or procedures. And at some point, your GP might want to refer you to a specialist called a gastroenterologist like me. A blood test can detect anemia and signs of infection. A stool study can test for the presence of blood or rule out certain pathogens. A colonoscopy may be required. This also allows your doctor to see the entire colon and the end of the ileum using an endoscope, a small camera mounted on a thin, flexible tube. They may take tissue samples for a biopsy at the same time. And the presence of granulomas, or clusters of inflammatory cells, can essentially confirm the diagnosis. TOCTa scan may be ordered to better visualize the intestine and all surrounding tissues; or onemagnetic resonance, which is especially good for evaluating fistulas around the anus or small intestine. A capsule endoscopy can be done. Here you really gobble up the big vitamin-sized camera and take pictures of your digestive tract as it travels. And a balloon-assisted enteroscopy may be performed to penetrate further into the intestine than a standard endoscope if abnormalities are found that require further investigation.

How is it treated?

Your doctor can work with you to find therapies to relieve your symptoms. One of the main objectives is to reduce the inflammation that causes painful and annoying problems. Another is to limit long-term complications. There is currently no cure, but many treatments can bring a lot of relief, and in some cases even long-term remission. These may include anti-inflammatory drugs such as corticosteroids, immune system suppressants, and antibiotics. Certain biologics, which target proteins made by the immune system, may help. Antidiarrheals, pain relievers, and supplements can help combat other symptoms. Nutritional therapy and a special diet may be recommended. And in some cases where other measures are not effective, surgery may be necessary. And this is to remove damaged tissue. Some of these therapies may have side effects. So be sure to review the risks and benefits with your doctor.

And now?

Crohn's disease can be physically and emotionally challenging, but there are things that can help. While there's no firm evidence that any particular food causes Crohn's disease, certain things seem to make flare-ups worse. Therefore, a food diary can help you identify personal triggers. Also, limit dairy, eat smaller meals, stay hydrated, and try to avoid caffeine, alcohol, and carbonation. Consider multivitamins if you are concerned about weight loss. Or if your diet has become too limited, talk to a registered dietitian. And again, if you smoke, you should quit. It is also important to take care of your mental health. Find ways to manage stress, such as exercise, breathing, relaxation techniques, or biofeedback. Some symptoms such as abdominal pain, gas and diarrhea... can cause anxiety and frustration. They can make it difficult to go out in public for any length of time. It can feel limiting and isolated and lead to depression. So learn all you can about Crohn's disease. Staying informed can go a long way in helping you feel in control of your condition. Talk to a therapist, especially one familiar with inflammatory bowel disease. Your doctor can give you some recommendations. And you may want to find a support group of people who are going through the same thing as you. Crohn's disease is a complex disease. But having expert medical care and developing a treatment strategy can make it more manageable and even help you return to the freedom of your normal life. Meanwhile, significant advances continue to be made in understanding and treating the disease, bringing us closer to curing or preventing it entirely. If you want to learn more about Crohn's disease, here are other related videos or visit We wish you the best.

digestive system

Crohn's Disease - Symptoms and Causes (1)

digestive system

In Crohn's disease, any part of the small or large intestine can be affected. It can involve multiple threads or it can be continuous. Crohn's disease most often affects the last part of the small intestine (ileum) and parts of the colon.

(Video) Crohn's disease (Crohn disease) - causes, symptoms & pathology

Crohn's disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It causes swelling (inflammation) of tissue in the digestive tract, which can lead to abdominal pain, severe diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss, and malnutrition.

The inflammation caused by Crohn's disease can affect different areas of the digestive tract in different people, most commonly the small intestine. This inflammation usually extends to the deeper layers of the intestine.

Crohn's disease can be painful and debilitating, and can sometimes lead to life-threatening complications.

There is no known cure for Crohn's disease, but therapies can greatly reduce its signs and symptoms and even lead to long-term remission and healing of the inflammation. With treatment, many people with Crohn's disease can function well.


In Crohn's disease, any part of the small or large intestine can be affected. It can involve multiple threads or it can be continuous. In some people, the disease only occurs in the colon, which is part of the large intestine.

The signs and symptoms of Crohn's disease can range from mild to severe. They usually develop gradually, but sometimes they appear suddenly without warning. You may also have periods of time when you have no signs or symptoms (remission).

When the disease is active, symptoms often include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Cramps and abdominal pain
  • blood in your stool
  • Canker sores
  • Decreased appetite and weight loss.
  • Pain or drainage near or around the anus due to inflammation of a tunnel in the skin (fistula)

Other signs and symptoms

People with severe Crohn's disease may also experience symptoms outside of the intestinal tract, including:

  • Inflammation of the skin, eyes and joints
  • Inflammation of the liver or bile ducts
  • kidney stones
  • Iron deficiency anemia)
  • Delayed growth or sexual development, in children

When to see a doctor

See your doctor if you have persistent changes in your bowel habits or if you have any of the signs and symptoms of Crohn's disease, such as:

(Video) Mayo Clinic Explains Crohn’s Disease

  • Dor abdominal
  • blood in your stool
  • nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea that lasts more than two weeks.
  • unexplained weight loss
  • Fever plus any of the above symptoms

More information

  • Crohn's disease treatment at Mayo Clinic
  • Crohn's disease symptom: is fatigue common?

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(Video) Inflammatory Bowel Disease Causes, Symptoms and Treatment with Dr. Guaree Konjeti | San Diego Health

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The exact cause of Crohn's disease remains unknown. Previously, diet and stress were suspected, but doctors now know that these factors can aggravate, but not cause, Crohn's disease. Several factors likely play a role in its development.

  • Immune system.Crohn's disease may be triggered by a virus or bacteria; however, scientists have yet to identify this trigger. When your immune system tries to fight off an invading microorganism or environmental triggers, an atypical immune response causes the immune system to attack cells in the digestive tract as well.
  • Inheritance.Crohn's disease is more common in people who have family members with the disease, so genes may play a role in making people more likely to have it. However, most people with Crohn's disease do not have a family history of the disease.

Risk factor's

Risk factors for Crohn's disease may include:

  • Age.Crohn's disease can occur at any age, but it's likely that you'll develop the disease when you're young. Most people who develop Crohn's disease are diagnosed before the age of 30.
  • Ethnicity.Although Crohn's disease can affect any ethnic group, whites are most at risk, especially those of Eastern European (Ashkenazi) Jewish descent. However, the incidence of Crohn's disease is increasing among black people living in North America and the United Kingdom. Crohn's disease is also increasingly seen in the Middle Eastern population and among immigrants to the United States.
  • Family history.You are at higher risk if you have a first-degree relative, such as a parent, sibling, or child, with the condition. Up to 1 in 5 people with Crohn's disease have a family member with the disease.
  • From smoking.Smoking is the most important controllable risk factor for developing Crohn's disease. Smoking also causes more serious illness and an increased risk of surgery. If you smoke, it is important that you quit.
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.These include ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others), naproxen sodium (Aleve), diclofenac sodium, and others. Although they do not cause Crohn's disease, they can cause inflammation of the intestine that makes Crohn's disease worse.


Crohn's disease can cause one or more of the following complications:

  • Intestinal obstruction.Crohn's disease can affect the entire thickness of the intestinal wall. Over time, parts of the intestine can scar and narrow, which can block the flow of digestive contents, commonly known as a stricture. You may need surgery to widen the stricture or sometimes to remove the diseased part of your intestine.
  • Ulcers.Chronic inflammation can lead to open sores (ulcers) anywhere in the digestive tract, including the mouth and anus, and in the genital (perineum) area.
  • fistulasSometimes ulcers can extend completely through the intestinal wall, creating a fistula, an abnormal connection between different parts of the body. Fistulas can develop between the intestine and the skin or between the intestine and another organ. Fistulas near or around the anal (perianal) region are the most common.

    When fistulas develop inside the abdomen, they can lead to infections and abscesses, which are collections of pus. These can be fatal if left untreated. Fistulas can form between intestinal loops, in the bladder or vagina, or through the skin, causing continuous drainage of intestinal contents into the skin.

  • Fisura anal.This is a small tear in the tissue that lines the anus or in the skin around the anus where infections can occur. It is often associated with painful bowel movements and can lead to a perianal fistula.
  • Malnutrition.Diarrhea, abdominal pain, and cramps can make it hard for you to eat or for your intestines to absorb enough nutrients to stay fed. It is also common to develop anemia due to the low level of iron or vitamin B-12 that causes the disease.
  • colon cancerHaving Crohn's disease that affects the colon increases the risk of colon cancer. General colon cancer screening guidelines for people without Crohn's disease call for a colonoscopy at least every 10 years starting at age 45. disease onset and is usually performed every 1 to 2 years thereafter. Ask your doctor if you need to have this test earlier and more often.
  • Skin illness.Many people with Crohn's disease can also develop a condition called hidradenitis suppurativa. This skin disease involves deep nodules, tunnels, and abscesses in the armpits, groin, under the breasts, and in the perianal or genital area.
  • Other health problems.Crohn's disease can also cause problems in other parts of the body. These problems include low iron levels (anemia), osteoporosis, arthritis, and gallbladder or liver disease.
  • Medication risks.Certain Crohn's disease drugs that work by blocking immune system functions are associated with a small risk of developing cancers, such as lymphoma and skin cancer. They also increase the risk of infections.

    Corticosteroids may be associated with the risk of osteoporosis, bone fractures, cataracts, glaucoma, diabetes, and high blood pressure, among other conditions. Work with your doctor to determine the risks and benefits of the medications.

  • blood clotsCrohn's disease increases the risk of blood clots in the veins and arteries.
(Video) Crohn's Disease: Causes, Symptoms, History, and Today's Treatments | Mass General Brigham

By Mayo Clinic staff

August 06, 2022


What is the main cause of Crohn's disease? ›

The exact cause of Crohn's disease remains unknown. Previously, diet and stress were suspected, but now doctors know that these factors may aggravate, but don't cause, Crohn's disease. Several factors likely play a role in its development. Immune system.

What are the early warning signs of Crohn's disease? ›

Some of the earliest signs include:
  • Appetite loss.
  • Abdominal pain.
  • Fever.
  • Exhaustion.
  • Joint pain.
  • Nausea.
  • Pain and redness in eyes.
  • Red bumps on the skin.
Nov 22, 2019

What are Crohn's trigger foods? ›

But if you haven't yet identified the foods that trigger your flares of Crohn's, ulcerative colitis or IBD, these are common culprits:
  • Fatty, greasy or fried foods.
  • Hot or spicy foods.
  • Raw, high-fiber fruits and vegetables.
  • Nuts, seeds and beans.
  • Caffeinated or sugary beverages.
  • Alcoholic beverages.
Sep 4, 2020

Is Crohn's disease caused by food? ›

Diet and stress may aggravate Crohn's disease, but do not cause the disease. Recent research suggests hereditary, genetic, and environmental factors contribute to Crohn's disease development.

What confirms Crohn's disease? ›

Intestinal endoscopy. Intestinal endoscopies are the most accurate methods for diagnosing Crohn's disease and ruling out other possible conditions, such as ulcerative colitis, diverticular disease, or cancer. Intestinal endoscopies include the following: Colonoscopy.

How do I know if I've got Crohn's? ›

Common symptoms

stomach aches and cramps – most often in the lower-right part of your tummy. blood in your poo. tiredness (fatigue) weight loss.

What is the first thing to do when you have Crohn's disease? ›

Newly Diagnosed
  1. Learn about Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.
  2. Form an effective partnership with your physician to determine the treatment plan that's best for you.
  3. Connect with others with IBD to get the support you need.

What to avoid if you have Crohn's? ›

Crohn's disease: Foods to avoid
  • Whole grains. The high amounts of fiber in foods like whole-grain bread, whole-wheat pasta, popcorn and bran can cause a lot of traffic through the gastrointestinal tract. ...
  • Beans. ...
  • High-fiber fruits and vegetables. ...
  • Nuts and seeds. ...
  • Alcohol and caffeine. ...
  • Sweeteners. ...
  • Dairy. ...
  • Spicy foods.
Jul 27, 2020

What fruits should you avoid if you have Crohn's disease? ›

Raw fruit and fruit juices with pulp are foods to avoid during a Crohn's flare-up. Other examples include: dried fruit, such as raisins. prune juice.

What foods soothe inflamed intestines? ›

Suggestions for first foods after a flare include:
  • Diluted juices.
  • Applesauce.
  • Canned fruit.
  • Oatmeal.
  • Plain chicken, turkey or fish.
  • Cooked eggs or egg substitutes.
  • Mashed potatoes, rice or noodles.
  • Bread – sourdough or white.

Who is most likely to get Crohn's disease? ›

Men and women are equally likely to be affected by Crohn's disease. The disease can occur at any age, but Crohn's disease is most often diagnosed in adolescents and adults between the ages of 20 and 30.

Can someone give you Crohn's disease? ›

There's no evidence that any contagious diseases or pathogens cause Crohn's disease, or that Crohn's disease itself is contagious. You can't catch it from another person or an animal.

Is Crohn's caused by lifestyle? ›

The causes of Crohn disease are complex. This condition results from a combination of genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors, many of which are unknown. Many of the major genes related to Crohn disease, including NOD2, ATG16L1, IL23R, and IRGM, are involved in immune system function.

Can you suddenly develop Crohn's disease? ›

Most people are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 30, but Crohn's can develop at any time. 1 People may have had the disease for years before it is diagnosed, because the symptoms resemble other gastrointestinal conditions. What are the early signs of Crohn's disease? Symptoms can develop gradually or suddenly.

Can Crohn's disease go away? ›

The condition usually doesn't get better on its own or go into remission without treatment. In fact, it will probably get worse and lead to serious complications. To get you to remission, your doctor will try: Medications.


1. Ulcerative colitis - causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, pathology
(Osmosis from Elsevier)
2. Crohn's Disease vs Ulcerative Colitis Nursing | Crohn's vs Colitis Chart Symptoms, Treatment
3. Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD): Symptoms, Treatment, and Prevention | Mass General Brigham
(Mass General Brigham)
4. Lesser-known symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease
(UChicago Medicine)
5. What is Crohn's Disease?
(Children's Hospital Colorado)
6. Crohn Disease: Signs, Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment | Merck Manual Consumer Version
(Merck Manuals)
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