Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Crohn’s disease is an Inflammatory Bowel Disease that affects 700,000 people in the U.S. Men and women are diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in equal number, but the disease is more prevalent in adolescents and adults ages 15-35. Recent research on Crohn’s disease is uncovering more potential risk factors, causes, and potential treatments for this often-debilitating and chronic disease.
Crohn’s disease most commonly impacts the small intestine and beginning of the colon but can affect any part of the digestive tract. Unlike another Inflammatory Bowel Disease that affects just the lining of the intestine (ulcerative colitis), Crohn’s disease can affect the entire thickness of the bowel wall. The diseased areas can be interspersed with areas of healthy bowel and colon.
Symptoms of Crohn’s disease include:
- Abdominal cramps and pain
- Persistent need to move bowels
- Feeling that bowels have not been completely evacuated
- Rectal bleeding
Other symptoms that are similar to ulcerative colitis can include fever, nausea, loss of appetite, fatigue, and irregular menstrual cycle or loss of cycle completely. Crohn’s disease can cause malnutrition and stunted growth in children.