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Crohn's Disease

Crohn’s disease (CD) is named after the doctor who first described it in 1932. (Since he did not have the disease itself, it is sometimes more accurately called Crohn disease).

The inflammation from CD can strike anywhere in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, from mouth to anus, but is usually located in the lower part of the small bowel and the upper end of the colon. Patches of inflammation are interspersed between healthy portions of the gut, and can penetrate the intestinal layers from inner to outer lining.

CD can also affect the mesentery, which is the network of tissue that holds the small bowel to the abdomen and contains the main intestinal blood vessels and lymph glands.

Location effected by Crohn'sWhat are the Symptoms?

Since CD can be located anywhere in the GI tract, symptoms can vary. On the whole however, they often include abdominal pain, cramping, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and not surprisingly, weight loss and lack of energy.

Crohn’s disease is a chronic (lifelong) illness. People who have CD will experience periods of acute flare-ups, when their symptoms are active and other times when their symptoms go into remission. The average risk of a flare-up in any one year is approximately 30%.

In 25% of those with CD, perianal disease may also develop. “Peri” means “around” – therefore perianal disease is located “around the anus”.

Specifically this means that a person could develop:

  • painful, swollen skin tags (that appear to be haemhorrhoids but are not)
  • abscesses (bags of pus created inside the body as a result of infection)
  • fistulas (infections that have tunneled from the abscess to a hollow organ such as the rectum or vagina)

Can CD be cured?

There is no cure for Crohn’s disease – yet.

Please Note
This educational content was originally published by The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of Canada (CCFC) is a national not-for-profit voluntary medical research Foundation. Its mission is to find the cure for inflammatory bowel disease.  Please join with us in our mission to “Find the Cure” by clicking on our online donations and giving what you can.


  1. I was personally on Imuran for a few years and “peers over to the mirror” and seem to have an ok head of hair for someone in their late 30’s after being off of it for about 24 months now. Unfortunatly, I can not say for certain if I noticed any significan hair loss while on the drug, but if I had, it is all back now (that reminds me, to get my hair cut this week).

    My doctor always loves chemical cocktails of a few drugs so I never know what is sending my body off into left field when they start to act up — lets put it this way, I’m 38 and started to get pimples again!. I wish I had a little better audience on my blog when it came to the Crohn’s communtiy to get a better response to your inquiry. The only wisdom I can lend is what I keep reminding myself — I could be back in the hospital, need a hip replacement as a result of my prednesone use or have had to endure surgery. So I suppose a few pimples is the worst of my concerns. Good luck finding the answer if it does not come out here — and feel free to check back from time to time.

  2. Im a fifty two year old woman who has been dealing with Crohns disease for about thirty years now. For the first time I have to take an immune suppressant…Imuran…and so far there are no side effects except I am losing my hair. Im just wondering if this has happened to others and does anyway know if it grows back? Im very pissed and depressed about it…I know, I know it could be worse but right at the moment I dont care…

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