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What is Crohn’s Disease? The Symptoms and Risk Factors Explained

If you are wondering what Crohn’s disease is, you might be already experiencing some uncomfortable symptoms like diarrhea and abdominal pain. To fully comprehend what Crohn’s disease is and whether you have contracted it, you’ll need to take a look at the bigger picture.

Well, Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory disease that has similar symptoms to ulcerative colitis. The similarity can make diagnosis hard and your doctor will have to perform visual or blood tests of your intestines to form an accurate diagnosis.

The main difference between Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis is that the former can affect any area of the digestive tract when the latter only affects the rectum and colon.

Although Crohn’s disease can affect any part of the digestive tract, the last section of the small intestine called ileum is usually the biggest victim.

The first step in identifying whether you have the disease is identifying the symptoms. These include:

-Weight loss without knowing
-Cramping or pain in your abdomen

These symptoms usually come and go in periods, flaring up followed by free periods.

Crohn's disease

Other symptoms that may be experienced include:

-Bloody Stool
-Skin rash
-Mouth Ulcers

What Causes Crohn’s Disease?

To further assess whether you have this condition, you may gain some insight if you experience one of the known risk factors. The risk increases if another member of your family suffers from the disease and if you regularly smoke.

Beyond these factors, there is little known about why this disease develops in some individuals and not in others. Some say that there are ties to bacterial infection, but the most supported theory is that the condition is an autoimmune disorder.

In an autoimmune disorder, the immune system mistakenly attacks the healthy tissues. In Crohn’s case, the immune system may attack the intestinal tissue or attack the normally functioning bacteria that reside in the intestines. This can lead to the obvious symptoms of abdominal pain and diarrhea and can also cause other complications like ulcers and other types of damage to the digestive tract.

It is enough to know that Chron’s disease is an inflammatory condition that affects the digestive tract. To see whether you have the disease, you should first identify the symptoms, confirm if you have the mentioned risk factors and consult your doctor who can do tests and confirm the diagnosis.