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Crohn’s disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease in which one’s immune system damages one’s own digestive tract. It can affect your gastrointestinal tract (GI) from your mouth to your anus, but most commonly damages the small intestine and colon (large intestine). The inflammation can cause ulcers (sores), bleeding, blockages of the intestines, or sometimes abnormal connections (fistula) between the intestines and other areas of the body. While it isn’t clear what causes Crohn’s disease, it’s typically a combination of your immune system, genes, and environment. The disease varies in severity from very mild to severe and the symptoms can depend on the area of bowel that is inflamed. The diagnosis is made through a combination of blood, stool, x-rays, and evolutions with colonoscopy and upper endoscopy (EGD).
While a cure for Crohn’s disease is not currently available, a provider will suggest a mix of medications and dietary changes. Additionally, there are several surgical options that can be helpful.