Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease affecting the whole gastrointestinal tract from mouth to anus. Symptoms of this disease may include abdominal pain, bloody diarrhea, bowel obstruction, fever, skin rashes, eye inflammation, low energy, and weight loss. Crohn's disease is caused by a combination of genetic, environment (eg. smoking), and bacterial factors. Crohn’s disease is not believed to be an autoimmune disease in that it is not being triggered by the body itself.
Those with Crohn’s disease are at greater risk of bowel cancer. Researchers believe that the disease is the result of an abnormal response by the body’s immune system to attack cells in the digestive tract. There is not yet a medical or surgical cure for Crohn’s disease. Treatment options are designed to control and reduce symptoms and prevent flare ups of the disease. About 20% of people with Crohn’s disease are admitted to hospital each year. Half of those with Crohn’s disease will require surgery at some point over a ten-year period to address abscesses, certain bowel obstructions, and cancers.