Crohn's disease

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Crohn's disease is one form of an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It is a disease in which the immune system attacks the microbiota of the gut, causing inflammation[1]. The exact cause of the disease is not fully understood, but it is believed to be linked to both genetic and environmental factors[2]. The area affected varies from person to person, however, inflammation is most commonly found in the ileum and colon[3].Crohn's disease can affect any part of the GI tract but the most common symptoms are chronic diarrhoea, abdominal pain and blood and mucus in the stools[4].

As it is a chronic condition, the aim of most treatment is to reach and maintain a state of remission - that is to express a reduced set of symptoms, or none at all, over a period of time[5].

There are several risk factors that are associated with Crohn's disease. It is thought that living in urbanized areas along with smoking and taking certain non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications can lead to an increased chance of acquiring the disease. Family history and ethnicity also play an important role[6]. Crohn's disease is thought to possibly be hereditary and white people originating from Europe or the United States are thought to have the highest risk. It also appears to be more common for women to acquire the disease over men[7].


  1. Murphy K, Weaver C. Janeway's Immunobiology.9th Edition. Garland Science, Taylor and Francis Group. New York and London. 2016.
  2. US Department of Health and Human Services. Crohn's Disease. 2017 [cited from 22.10.17]. Available from:
  3. Mayo Clinic. Crohn's disease. 2018. Found at: [Accessed 24 Oct. 2018]
  4. Ha, Francis, and Hanan Khalil. “Crohn’s Disease: A Clinical Update.” Therapeutic Advances in Gastroenterology 8.6 (2015): 352–359.
  5. Crohn’s and Colitis. (2018). Learn About Treatment Options for Crohn’s Disease. [online] Available at: [Accessed 20 Oct. 2018].
  6. Mayo Clinic. (2018). Crohn's disease - Symptoms and causes. [online] Available at: [Accessed 23 Oct. 2018].
  7. Health24. (2018). Risk factors for Crohn's disease. [online] Available at: [Accessed 23 Oct. 2018].
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