Crohn’s disease

What is Crohn’s disease?

Crohn’s disease, often simply called Crohn’s, is a life-long autoimmune disease that affects the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Crohn’s is a type of inflammatory bowel disease that may cause ulcers in any part of your GI tract.


Crohn’s changes the way that you digest the food you eat, and how you absorb water and other liquids. It reduces the body’s ability to absorb the things it needs from the food you eat, such as vitamins. It can also affect how you make solid bowel movements, also called stools.

Who is affected by Crohn’s disease?

Anyone can develop Crohn’s. It is more common in developed countries and may be influenced by genetic and environmental factors. In the UK, Crohn’s disease affects 1 out of 530 people (data from 2017).

Although Crohn’s can occur at any age, diagnosis is more common in people aged between 10 and 40 years old and in people over 60 years old.

What are the symptoms of Crohn’s disease?

Crohn’s affects different people in different ways, often depending upon which part of the gut is affected.

Symptoms of Crohn’s may include:

  • Abdominal (stomach) pain and abdominal (stomach) cramps
  • Diarrhoea
  • Tiredness, fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Feeling or being sick
  • Feeling unwell in general
  • Joint pain
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Anaemia

Your symptoms (for example, the number of times you have to go to the toilet in a day) may be quite mild or they may be more troublesome. Your symptoms may also come (when you have a relapse or a flare-up) and go (when you are in remission) over your lifetime.

Although Crohn´s is a life-long chronic disease, there are many treatments that can help.

Additional information

You can find additional information about Crohn’s following these links:

NHS Choices:

Crohn’s and colitis UK:

European Crohn’s and Colitis Organisation: