This is an inflammatory bowel condition, which can affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract. It is most common in the small bowel (particularly the last part or terminal ileum) and the colon. The disease often first presents at a young age but it can occur in older people as well. Typical symptoms include diarrhoea, abdominal pain and weight loss. Many other symptoms can occur depending on the part of the bowel that is affected. These include mouth ulcers, nausea and vomiting and rectal bleeding. Anal symptoms such as pain, swelling and discharge are common in patients with Crohn’s disease.
Crohn’s disease is usually diagnosed at colonoscopy or an abdominal CT scan. Treatment with medication is usually recommended and this is managed by a gastroenterologist. Major bowel surgery is sometimes needed to treat the complications of Crohn’s disease.