Crohn’s disease is a condition of chronic inflammation potentially involving any location of the gastrointestinal tract, but it frequently affects the end of the small bowel and the beginning of the large bowel. In Crohn’s disease, all layers of the intestine may be involved and there can be normal healthy bowel between patches of diseased bowel. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that symptoms include persistent diarrhea (loose, watery, or frequent bowel movements), cramping, abdominal pain, fever, and, at times, rectal bleeding. Loss of appetite and weight loss also may occur.
However, the disease is not always limited to the gastrointestinal tract; it can also affect the joints, eyes, skin, and liver. Fatigue is another common complaint. The exact cause of Crohn’s disease is unknown. People with Crohn’s disease have ongoing (chronic) inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract (GI tract). Crohn’s disease may involve the small intestine, the large intestine, the rectum, or the mouth. The inflammation causes the intestinal wall to become thick. There are different types of Crohn’s disease. The type depends on what part of your body is affected.