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Crohn Disease

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Dec 2, 2022.


Crohn disease

is a condition that causes the lining of your intestines to become inflamed. The lining of your mouth, esophagus, or stomach may also become inflamed. You may have different symptoms at different times. Your symptoms may come and go with quiet and active periods. Over time, active periods may occur more often and symptoms may be more severe.

Digestive Tract

Common signs and symptoms include the following:

  • Cramping pain on the lower right side of your abdomen
  • Diarrhea that may be dark or tar-colored, or blood in your bowel movements
  • Fever
  • More mentally and physically tired than usual (fatigue)
  • Nausea, loss of appetite, or weight loss without trying
  • Slow growth or failure to thrive (in children)

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) if:

  • You suddenly have trouble breathing.
  • You have a fast heart rate, fast breathing, or are too dizzy to stand.

Seek care immediately if:

  • You vomit blood, or your vomit looks like coffee grounds.
  • You have severe pain in your stomach.

Call your doctor or gastroenterologist if:

  • You have tar-colored bowel movements or you see blood in your bowel movements.
  • You have a fever or chills.
  • The pain in your abdomen does not go away or gets worse after you take medicine.
  • Your abdomen is swollen.
  • You are losing weight without trying.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Treatment for Crohn disease

will depend on how severe it is.

  • Medicines may be used to decrease inflammation in your digestive tract. You may need antibiotics to treat or prevent an infection and antidiarrheal medicine to decrease diarrhea. Immunosuppressants may also be given to slow your immune system.
  • Surgery may be needed to decrease your symptoms or to correct problems such as blockage or bleeding. Your healthcare provider may remove the diseased part of your intestines and reconnect the healthy parts. You may also need to have a colostomy.

Treatment options

The following list of medications are in some way related to or used in the treatment of this condition.

View more treatment options

Manage Crohn disease:

  • Do not smoke. Nicotine and other chemicals in cigarettes and cigars can cause lung damage and increase your risk for Crohn disease. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you currently smoke and need help to quit. E-cigarettes or smokeless tobacco still contain nicotine. Talk to your healthcare provider before you use these products.
  • Take your medicines exactly as directed. This may help to keep your disease in remission (no symptoms).
  • Keep a record of everything you eat and drink. Include any symptoms the food or drink causes or makes worse. You may need to avoid certain foods. Dairy, alcohol, hot spices, and high-fiber foods are common examples of foods that may worsen your symptoms. Your healthcare provider may recommend that you take vitamins or minerals. Always ask your healthcare provider before you take vitamins or nutritional supplements.

Follow up with your doctor or gastroenterologist as directed:

Record the number of bowel movements you have each day and describe the color and form (liquid, soft, or hard). Write down if you saw blood in your bowel movement. Bring the record with you when you see your healthcare provider. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.