Crohn's Disease: Symptoms & Signs

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Medically Reviewed on 10/21/2016

Crohn's disease is a chronic inflammatory condition of the intestines that can affect any part of the digestive tract, causing ulcerations (breaks in the lining of the gastrointestinal tract). Some of the signs and symptoms of Crohn's disease include weight loss, pain, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, and other symptoms. Bowel obstruction may be a complication of Crohn's disease. The condition can also affect other parts of the body like the spine, eyes, joints, and liver and may cause reddened, tender nodules in the skin. These manifestations of Crohn's disease outside the digestive tract are referred to as extraintestinal manifestations or extraintestinal Crohn's disease. Crohn's disease, together with another condition known as ulcerative colitis, are referred to as inflammatory bowel diseases.

Causes of Crohn's disease

The cause of Crohn's disease is poorly understood. An abnormal activation of the immune system is believed to play a role in the development of the ulcerations in the digestive tract. Genetic factors that may be involved in the cause of Crohn's disease are under study.


Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/21/2016

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