Crohn’s Disease is a chronic (on-going and life-long) condition that causes inflammation in the digestive system. It affects at least 115,000 people in the UK and millions more worldwide. Crohn’s can affect any part of the gut, from mouth to bottom. Although the two most common areas affected are the end of the small intestine which is called the ileum, or the large intestine, also known as the colon.
Areas of inflammation can vary in size from only a few centimetres to much larger sections of the intestines. The inflammation is often patchy with areas of inflammation interspersed with areas of normal gut. In Crohn’s, the inflammation affects the lining of the intestine but can also go deeper into the intestinal wall. Sufferers can experience periods when their health is good and they are described as being in remission, but also periods when symptoms worsen, described as a flare-up or relapse.
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms range from mild to severe and can change over time but the most common are:
Tummy pain * Diarrhoea/constipation * Tiredness and fatigue
Feeling generally unwell or feverish
Loss of appetite and weight loss
Anaemia (a reduced level of red blood cells which carry oxygen around the body)
Blood and mucus in your poo