What Causes Crohn’s?

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Making interactions of factors
more digestible.

The exact cause isn’t fully understood. However, it’s known to involve an interaction between 3 things: genes, the immune system, and environmental factors.

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3 Factors That Contribute to the Development of Crohn’s

Immune System Response: In people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)—like Crohn’s—the immune system responds inappropriately to the gastrointestinal tract, resulting in inflammation.

Genetics and Heredity: Certain genes are connected to susceptibility of the disease, but this does not absolutely predict that the disease will occur.

Environmental Factors: While not fully identified, these can serve as “triggers” to initiate a harmful immune response in the gastrointestinal tract.

    Crohn’s is:

  • A chronic, inflammatory condition of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract
  • Thought of as an autoimmune disease
  • Unpredictable—no one can know how it will affect a particular person

    Crohn’s is not:

  • Caused by something you did
  • Contagious—you can’t catch it from anyone
  • Brought on by something you ate or drank
  • Developed from a stressful lifestyle

Let's Talk Crohn's, the Immune System, and Inflammation

Connecting Crohn’s and the Immune System
The immune system is a network of cells, tissues, and organs that work together in order to protect the body. Crohn’s disease is an autoimmune disease—which means the immune system attacks itself rather than bacteria, viruses, and other foreign invaders.

Leading to an Overreaction of the Immune Response
Normally, harmless bacteria in the GI tract (many of which aid in digestion) aren't harmed by the immune system response. But with Crohn’s, these bacteria are mistaken for harmful invaders—triggering cells to travel out of the blood to the gastrointestinal tract, producing inflammation.  

Causing Crohn’s Symptoms When Inflammation Doesn’t Subside
With Crohn’s, once the inflammatory response is triggered by the immune system, it doesn’t subside. This may lead to:

  • Chronic inflammation
  • Ulceration
  • Thickening of the intestinal wall
  • Eventually, patient symptoms

Looking for a treatment option for moderate to severe ulcerative colitis that could be right for you? Get more info.

 

QUESTION FOR YOU

How long have you been diagnosed?

"I'm not diagnosed"

It’s still important to be open about symptoms you might be experiencing.

Partner with your doctor>

 

"Under a year"

Always stay positive and be proactive. Make sure you know the facts about your condition.

GET THE FACT SHEET>

"1 to 3 years"

Make the most out of every appointment with your specialist.

Get The Doctor Discussion Guide>

“3 to 5 years”

Do you know how inflammation affects you inside the body—and impacts your symptoms?

See Inside Inflammation>

“Over 5 years”

Keep treatment conversations open with your specialist and have more productive visits.

Get the Doctor Discussion Guide>

QUESTION FOR YOU

How often do you experience symptoms?

“Daily”

Schedule an appointment with your specialist and make the visit even more productive.

Get the Doctor Discussion Guide>

“Weekly”

Have an open conversation with your specialist. Make the most of your next visit.

Get the Doctor Discussion Guide>

“Monthly”

Make sure that you’re telling your doctor everything they need to know to help you.

Get the Doctor Discussion Guide>

“Rarely”

Did you know that inflammation can affect you—even if you don’t have symptoms?

SEE INSIDE INFLAMMATION>

Know the basics of Crohn’s or UC

See an overview of facts on Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis (UC)—all on one downloadable page.

Understand your inflammation

Explore and learn how inflammation affects you with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis (UC)—from inside the body.

Real Crohn's Patient

You didn’t do this to yourself. It’s unfortunate that you have this disease, but, there’s so many ways to manage it—don’t give up on yourself.

JORDAN | Real Crohn’s Patient

Real Crohn's Patient

Remember, Crohn’s Can Affect:

Men and women equally

People of any age but often starts between ages 15 to 35

People of any racial or ethnic group but is mainly found in developed countries

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Looking for a gastroenterologist?

Find a gastroenterologist—a doctor who specializes in Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis (UC)—near you.

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Make the most of your appointments

Our doctor discussion guide can help you talk effectively with your doctor during your visits.

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Is it time make a personalized action plan?

See how much time your disease is impacting you. Answer 5 quick questions and get 3 customized, timely steps to help you and your doctor take action with your disease.

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Get a Restroom Request Card* and helpful info

Have a discreet way to ask for access to restricted restrooms if you have symptoms. And get updates, resources, and more sent to your inbox.

Person sitting at a desk viewing inflammation inside the body on a laptop

Understand your inflammation

Explore and learn how inflammation affects you with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis (UC)—from inside the body.

Woman going over her doctor discussion guide with her doctor

Make the most of your appointments

Our doctor discussion guide can help you talk effectively with your doctor during your visits.

Person looking at map on mobile phone

Looking for a gastroenterologist?

Find a gastroenterologist—a doctor who specializes in Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis (UC)—near you.

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