Or press ESC to close.

Understanding Crohn's Disease: Symptoms, Causes, and Management

Dr. Craig Smith, MD

4 Min read

Crohn's disease is a chronic inflammatory condition that affects the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, causing inflammation and damage to various parts of the digestive system. Named after Dr. Burrill B. Crohn, who first described the disease in 1932, Crohn's disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) along with ulcerative colitis. This article aims to provide a comprehensive overview of Crohn's disease, covering its symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and management.


Crohn's disease can manifest in a variety of symptoms, which may vary in severity and location. Common symptoms include abdominal pain and cramping, diarrhea, weight loss, fatigue, fistulas, and abscesses. Special attention is given to different manifestations of the disease such as Gastroduodenal Crohn's disease, Jejunoileitis, Ileitis, Ileocolitis, and Crohn's Colitis, each affecting different parts of the GI tract and presenting unique challenges in management.

Perianal Disease:

In some cases, Crohn's disease can present with perianal involvement, leading to issues around the anus and surrounding areas. This manifestation may include the development of fistulas, deep tissue infections, and sores or ulcers on the skin around the anus, requiring specialized care to address these complications.


The exact cause of Crohn's disease remains unclear, but it is believed to result from a combination of genetic, environmental, and immunological factors. Risk factors for developing Crohn's disease include genetics, immune system dysfunction, and environmental factors.


Diagnosing Crohn's disease involves a combination of medical history review, physical examination, and various diagnostic tests, including blood tests, imaging studies, endoscopy, and stool tests, to identify inflammation, nutritional deficiencies, and other signs of the disease.


While there is no cure for Crohn's disease, treatment options aim to manage symptoms, reduce inflammation, and improve overall quality of life. Approaches may include medications, nutritional therapy, lifestyle modifications, and surgery for severe cases or complications.


Living with Crohn's disease requires a comprehensive and individualized approach to manage symptoms and improve quality of life. With ongoing research and advancements in medical treatments, individuals with Crohn's disease can lead fulfilling lives, provided they work closely with healthcare professionals to develop a tailored treatment plan.

About the Author

In 1984, Dr. Craig Smith founded Lifesource. As a coach, he's worked with world-class athletes and guided thousands towards successful weight loss. Driven by a desire to elevate his understanding of the human body, he returned to the rigors of medical school in his 50s, achieving his goal of becoming a physician at 56. Now in his 60s, Dr. Smith leads by personal example, continuing to inspire, educate and empower individuals from all walks of life to achieve their health and fitness goals. If you wish to train and diet online with Dr. Smith, hear his message and schedule a 45-minute consultation on the New You page.