Crohn's disease is a form of inflammatory-bowel-disease that affect the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. The GI tract is the tube that runs from the mouth all the way to the anus. The GI system is responsible for the food digestion, absorption, and the elimination of waste products from the body.
Inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis cause inflammation or irritation in different areas along the GI tract that may go away temporarily and then flare up again.
Crohn's disease can affect any part of the GI tract from the mouth to the anus and may occur in patches. Some areas may be very irritated and inflamed while other parts of the tract are perfectly healthy.
The Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America estimates that 1.4 million Americans are living with an inflammatory bowel disease.
Medical providers aren't sure what causes Crohn's but do know that environmental factors, the body's immune system response, and genetics all play a role.
Symptoms of Crohn's disease can vary widely over time and can range from mild to severe. They include: