Crohn's Disease and Pregnancy
What Is Crohn's Disease?
Crohn's disease is a chronic illness in which the intestine, bowel, or another part of the digestive tract become inflamed and ulcerated. Ulcerated means it is marked with sores. Along with ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease is part of a group of diseases known as inflammatory bowel disease, or IBD.
Crohn's disease most commonly affects the lower part of the small intestine. That part is called the ileum. The disease can, though, occur in any part of the large or small intestine, stomach, esophagus, or even the mouth. It can occur at any age, but it is most common between the ages of 15 and 30.
What Are the Symptoms of Crohn's Disease?
People with Crohn's disease experience periods of severe symptoms. These are followed by periods with no symptoms that can last for weeks or years. The period with no symptoms is called remission. Unfortunately, there is no way to know when a remission will occur or when symptoms will return.
The symptoms of Crohn's disease depend on where the disease is in the bowel. They also depend on its severity. In general, symptoms can include:
- chronic diarrhea
- rectal bleeding
- weight loss
- abdominal pain and tenderness (often on the right side of the lower abdomen)
- feeling of a mass or fullness in the lower, right abdomen
- delayed development and stunted growth (in children)