Prevention & Risk Treatment
What causes Crohn disease?
There are many theories regarding Crohn disease, but none has yet been proven. One theory suggests that some agent, perhaps a virus or bacteria, affects the body's immune system and triggers an inflammatory reaction in the intestinal wall. Although there is a lot of evidence that patients with this disease have abnormalities of the immune system, it is not known whether the immune problems are a cause or a result of the disease.
Physicians believe that there is little proof that Crohn disease is caused by emotional distress.
Who is affected by Crohn disease?
While Crohn disease may affect persons of all ages, the age group most often affected is 15 to 35 years. However, Crohn disease may also be seen in young children. Males and females are affected equally. It appears to run in some families, with about 20 percent of people with Crohn disease having a blood relative with some form of inflammatory bowel disease. In those who have a family history, it is very likely that Crohn disease will begin in the teens and twenties.
What are the symptoms of Crohn disease?
The following are the most common symptoms for Crohn disease. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
- Abdominal pain, often in the lower right area
- Diarrhea, sometimes bloody
- Rectal bleeding
- Weight loss
- Obvious blood in the stools or black, tar-like stools
- Weight loss
- Failure to grow
- Joint pain
- Rectal fissure
Some people have long periods of remission when they are free of symptoms, sometimes for years. There is no way to predict when a remission may occur or when symptoms will return.
The symptoms of Crohn disease may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Consult your child's physician for a diagnosis.