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Crohn’s disease – causes, symptoms and other risk factors

This disease is IBD (an inflammatory bowel disease). It can cause inflammation of the digestive tract which can lead to malnutrition, weight loss, fatigue, severe diarrhea and abdominal pain. The inflammation which is caused by this type of disease can involve different areas of your digestive tract in different people. The inflammation which is caused by Crohn’s disease often can spread deep into the layers of your affected bowel tissue. This disease can be debilitating and painful and in some cases it can lead to life – threatening complications. There is no cure for Crohn’s disease. There are some therapies which can reduce the signs and symptoms and also they can bring about long – term remission. There are many people who use treatment and they can function well with it.

Crohn’s disease symptoms

There are some people who suffer from Crohn’s disease and they have said that only the last segment of their small intestine, ileum, is affected. In other people who suffer from Crohn’s disease, this disease is confined to the colon which is a part of the large intestines. Colon and the last part of the small intestine are the most common areas that are affected by Crohn’s disease. Signs and symptoms of this condition can range from mild to severe. These signs and symptoms usually develop gradually but also there are some cases when they come on suddenly without warning. Also there can be periods when you do not have signs or symptoms – remission. When Crohn’s disease is active, it is including next signs and symptoms [1]:

  • Pain or drainage near or around the anus due to inflammation from a tunnel into your skin (fistula)
  • Reduced appetite and weight loss
  • Mouth sores
  • Blood in your stool
  • Abdominal pain and cramping
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Diarrhea

Other signs and symptoms: People who have severe Crohn’s disease can experience:

  • Delayed growth or sexual development, in children
  • Inflammation of the liver or bile ducts
  • Inflammation of the skin, eyes and joints

Crohn's disease

crohn’s disease causes

The exact cause for Crohn’s disease is not known. In the past studies doctors were suspecting that stress and diet are causes for Crohn’s disease, but nowadays they know that they can aggravate it but not cause it. There are many factors which can play a role in its development such as

  • Heredity: People who have family members with Crohn’s disease are having increased chances of getting this disease. Genes are playing an important role in getting Crohn’s disease. But also there are some studies in which is shown that most people who suffer from Crohn’s disease do not have a family history of this disease. [2,3]
  • Immune system: It is possible that Crohn’s disease can be triggered by bacterium or virus. When our immune system is trying to fight off invading microorganisms, then the abnormal immune response is causing the immune system to attack the cells in your digestive tract. [4]

Risk factors: Here are some factors which are increasing your risk of getting Crohn’s disease:

  • Where you live: People who live in an industrialized country or in an urban area are having increased chances of developing it. This suggests that the environmental factors in which are included refined foods and a diet high in fat can play a role in Crohn’s disease. [5]
  • Cigarette smoking: The most important controllable risk factor for developing this disease is smoking. It can lead to more – severe disease and a greater risk of having surgery. [6,7]
  • Ethnicity: This disease can affect any ethnic group but whites and people of Eastern European Jewish descent are having the highest risk. But also the incidence of Crohn’s disease is increasing among black who live in the United Kingdom and North America. [7]
  • Age: This disease can happen at any age but there are more chances to develop it when you are young. Most people, who are diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, are diagnosed before they are around thirty years old.
  • Family history: People, who have a close relative such as child, sibling or parent, are having increased risk of developing Crohn’s disease. It is known fact that as many as one in five people with Crohn’s disease have a family member with this disease. [2,3]


[1] National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Symptoms & causes of Crohn’s disease. Retrieved from

[2] Liu JZ, Anderson CA. Genetic studies of Crohn’s disease: Past, present and future. Best Practice & Research Clinical Gastroenterology. 2014;28(3):373–86.

[3] Cleynen I, Boucher G, Jostins L, et al. Inherited determinants of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis phenotypes: a genetic association study. The Lancet. 2016;387(10014):156-67.

[4] Li N, Shi RH. Updated review on immune factors in pathogenesis of Crohn’s disease. World Journal of Gastroenterology. 2018;24(1):15–22.

[5] Barreiro-de Acosta M, Alvarez Castro A, Souto R, et al. Emigration to western industrialized countries: A risk factor for developing inflammatory bowel disease. Journal of Crohn’s and Colitis. 2011;5(6):566-9.

[6] Parkes GC, Whelan K, Lindsay JO. Smoking in inflammatory bowel disease: Impact on disease course and insights into the aetiology of its effect. Journal of Crohn’s and Colitis. 2014;8(8):717-25.

[7] Walker C, Allamneni C, Orr J, et al. Socioeconomic status and race are both independently associated with increased hospitalization rate among Crohn’s disease patients. Scientific Reports. 2018.

Merlin Joy
Merlin Joy
Holding a doctorate degree, Dr. Merlin Joy AKA Sinatra developed passion for home remedies from her mother, grand father and grandmother. Sinatra loves to read books and hiking. You can contact her through [email protected]


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