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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Crohn's disease


* Not a rare disease
Other Names for this Disease
  • Enteritis
  • Granulomatous colitis
  • Granulomatous enteritis
  • Ileitis
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What are the signs and symptoms of Crohn's disease?

Crohn's disease causes inflammation of the digestive or gastrointestinal (GI) tract. It usually occurs in the lower part of the small intestine, called the ileum, but it can affect any part of the digestive tract, from the mouth to the anus. The inflammation extends deep into the lining of the affected organ, which can cause abdominal pain and diarrhea.[1] Affected individuals may also have loss of appetite, weight loss, and fever.[2]

About one-third of individuals with Crohn's disease have symptoms outside of the intestines, which may include arthritis, uveitis (inflammation of the covering of the eye), skin lesions, and sacroilitis (inflammation of the large joints of the tail bone and pelvis).[3]

Symptoms of Crohn's disease may range from mild to severe. Most people will go through periods in which the disease flares up and causes symptoms, alternating with periods when symptoms disappear or decrease. People with Crohn’s disease who smoke tend to have more severe symptoms and more complications. In general, people with Crohn's disease lead active and productive lives.[1][3]
Last updated: 11/15/2012

  1. Crohn's disease. National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NIDDC). 2006; Accessed 7/29/2010.
  2. Crohn disease. Genetics Home Reference. August 2007; Accessed 10/15/2012.
  3. Cummings S, Rubin D. The Complexity and Challenges of Genetic Counseling and Testing for Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Journal of Genetic Counseling. December 2006;