Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory disorder that can affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract, from the mouth to the anus. It most commonly affects the small intestine and the colon.

Crohn’s disease may appear in “patches,” affecting some areas of the GI tract while leaving other sections completely untouched.

The inflammation may extend through the entire thickness of the bowel wall.

Crohn’s disease can occur at any age, but it is more likely to develop in young adults.


Causes of Crohn’s Disease

The causes of Crohn’s Disease are still unknown, but we understand that it likely stems from an interaction between genetic and environmental factors.

An altered gut microbiome may also play a role. 

Risk Factors

  • Although Crohn’s Disease can affect any ethnic group, Caucasians have the highest risk, including people of Ashkenazi Jewish descent.
    However, the incidence of Crohn’s disease is increasing among Blacks in North America and the United Kingdom.
  • Family history. A person is at higher risk of developing Crohn’s Disease if they have a close relative, such as a parent, sibling, or child, with the disease.


Symptoms of Crohn’s Disease 

Symptoms can range from mild to severe. They usually develop gradually but sometimes will come on suddenly, without warning.

There can also be periods of time when there are no symptoms (remission).

When the disease is active, symptoms may include:

  • Pain
  • Diarrhoea
  • Rectal bleeding
  • anal fissures
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Fatigue
  • Altered appetite
  • Weight loss

People with Crohn’s disease may also develop symptoms in other parts of their body including inflammation of skin, eyes, and joints.

In addition to the symptoms, some people can develop complications which include fistulas, structures, and abscesses.

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Spoke Research Inc
Mediclinic Milnerton,
Suite 109
Racecourse Rd, Milnerton
Cape Town


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