Crohn's disease is an inflammatory bowel disease of the digestive system. Crohn’s most commonly affects the lower part of the small intestine, called the ileum, but the disease can affect any area of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, including the colon and the rectum. The upper GI system also can be affected.
Common symptoms of Crohn’s disease are pain in the abdomen and loose stools. Other symptoms include weight loss and/or bleeding from the rectum, fever, skin problems, and joint pain. Some patients develop malnutrition, fistulas or bowel obstruction. The disease is most common in young adults.
Most patients are treated with medications, which limit the inflammation in the bowel. Medical treatment can curb a flair of the disease, while it other times can prolong the periods of remission. Some patients will need surgical intervention, which can include bowel resection or surgical management of rectal problems. Nutrition supplements may be helpful for some patients.