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Crohn's Disease Health Center

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What Causes Crohn’s Disease?

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Do environmental factors play a role in Crohn's disease, too?

Environmental factors may help trigger Crohn's disease. Also, it should be noted that because a potential trigger is linked or associated to a condition does not mean that it causes it. Associated environmental factors may include any of the following:

  • Substances from something you've eaten
  • Microbes such as bacteria or viruses
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Other substances that are yet unknown

Environmental factors may contribute to Crohn's disease in one of these two ways:

  • They may trigger an immune system response. Once started, the response cannot stop.
  • They may directly damage the lining of the intestines. This may cause Crohn's disease to begin or to speed up.

What can I do to control Crohn's disease?

The factors involved in causing Crohn's disease are complex. Scientists continue to seek more information about the causes -- in hopes of finding better ways to diagnose, treat, and perhaps even cure this frustrating and painful disease. In the meantime, understanding current theories about the causes of Crohn's disease can help you work with your doctor to explore how various treatments might work to control this condition.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by David T. Derrer, MD on September 03, 2014
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