Crohn's Disease

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Definition & Facts

Crohn’s disease is a chronic, or long lasting, disease that causes inflammation and irritation in your digestive tract.

Symptoms & Causes

The most common symptoms of Crohn’s disease are diarrhea, cramping and pain in your abdomen, and weight loss. Doctors aren’t sure what causes Crohn’s disease.

Diagnosis

Doctors typically do not use a single test to diagnose Crohn’s disease. You may need a combination of tests. Your doctor will also ask you about your medical history and your family history and will perform a physical exam.

Treatment

Doctors treat Crohn’s disease with medicines, bowel rest, and surgery. The goal of treatment is to decrease the inflammation in your intestines, to prevent flare-ups of your symptoms, and to keep you in remission.

Eating, Diet, & Nutrition

Good nutrition can help you manage Crohn’s disease. Changing your diet can help reduce symptoms. Depending on your symptoms or medicines, your doctor may recommend a specific diet, such as a diet that is high calorie, lactose free, or low fat.

Clinical Trials

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) and other components of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) conduct and support research into many diseases and conditions.

Related Conditions & Diseases

Your Digestive System & How it Works

The digestive system is made up of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract-also called the digestive tract-and the liver, pancreas, and the gallbladder. The GI tract is a series of hollow organs joined in a long, twisting tube from the mouth to the anus.

Related Research

This content is provided as a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), part of the National Institutes of Health. The NIDDK translates and disseminates research findings through its clearinghouses and education programs to increase knowledge and understanding about health and disease among patients, health professionals, and the public. Content produced by the NIDDK is carefully reviewed by NIDDK scientists and other experts.