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A to Z: Crohn's Disease

May also be called: IBD, Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Crohn's disease causes the intestine (bowel) to become inflamed so the intestinal wall reddens and swells. The bowel might develop ulcers or bleed. These things can prevent the bowel from digesting food well. 

More to Know

People with Crohn's disease might have belly cramps, diarrhea (sometimes with blood in it), weight loss, and loss of appetite. They may feel more tired than usual.

Crohn's disease also can cause problems in other parts of the body, like joint pain, skin rashes, and eye problems. Kids who have it may be smaller or go through puberty later because they don't get enough calories and nutrients to grow properly. Crohn's disease can sometimes cause the bowels to become blocked by swelling and scar tissue.

Experts don't know exactly why people get Crohn's disease. It seems that the body's immune system, which fights germs and disease, doesn't work normally. Crohn's disease can run in families, so genes play a role. 

Crohn's disease is a lifelong condition. Doctors can't cure the disease, but it can be managed by eating a balanced diet with enough calories and taking medicines. People with the disease sometimes need surgery.

Keep in Mind

Following a treatment plan and maintaining good nutrition can help people with Crohn's disease live normal lives.

All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.

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