Crohn’s disease is an ongoing disorder that causes inflammation of the digestive tract, also referred to as the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.
It can affect any area of the GI tract from the mouth to the anus, but is more commonly found in the end of the small bowel (ileum) and the beginning of the large intestine (colon).
The damaging inflammation resulting from Crohn’s may cause pain and may make the intestines empty frequently, resulting in diarrhea and other Crohn’s disease symptoms.
Crohn’s is one of the inflammatory bowel diseases.
As an inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease symptoms are similar to those of other intestinal disorders, such as ulcerative colitis (UC). For that reason, Crohn’s may be difficult to diagnose.
Unlike UC, which affects only the large intestine (colon and rectum), Crohn’s can affect the entire digestive tract, with normal healthy bowel found between sections of diseased bowel.
Causes of Crohn’s disease.
While its exact causes are unknown, what is known is that Crohn’s disease is a chronic, or ongoing inflammatory disease of the digestive or gastrointestinal tract.
It appears to be a result of a complex interaction of factors, including:
The immune system
Foreign substances (antigens) in the environment may be the direct cause of the inflammation, or they may stimulate the body’s defenses to produce inflammation that continues without control.
Crohn’s is believed to be an overreaction of the immune system.
Researchers believe people with Crohn’s experience an overactive immune response. As a result, damaging inflammation occurs in the digestive tract and leads to Crohn’s symptoms.
Crohn’s can affect people of all ages.
While most men and women diagnosed with Crohn’s disease are between the ages of 15 and 35, it can affect people of any age.2
Males and females appear to be affected equally. In addition, more Caucasians than people from other racial groups develop Crohn’s.3
Crohn’s disease affects men and women equally.
Researchers believe that Crohn’s runs in some families, and also in both genders. Up to 20% of people with Crohn’s have a blood relative with some form of IBD.
Crohn’s disease can occur in people of all age groups, but it’s more often diagnosed in people between the ages of 15 and 35.
Diet and Crohn’s.
There’s no medical evidence that what you eat actually causes Crohn’s. But some foods and beverages can aggravate your Crohn’s symptoms.
Poor absorption and loss of appetite often associated with Crohn’s disease may deprive your body of essential nutrients. If you’re not getting proper nutrition or not absorbing nutrients malnutrition may occur.
So eating a nutritious diet is essential.
You may want to explore recipes and try to identify the types of foods that work well for you. Plus, consider tracking what you eat in a daily food diary.