Crohn's disease

Crohn's disease of the colonDefinition

Crohn's disease is an inflammatory disease that can develop in any part of the digestive tract, from the mouth to the anus. However, the lesions are concentrated on the ileum, the third segment of the small intestine (28% of cases), the colon (19%) and the anus (30%) and may take the form of erythema, various ulcerations, stenosis or fistulas.

Epidemiological data

Crohn's disease affects young adults between the ages of 30 and 40. Geographically, it is widespread in the United States, England and Northern Europe. In France, it is more frequent in the North (about 4 cases per 100 000 people) than in the South.

It may be due to genetic factors (5 to 10% of cases), but also to environmental factors.

Symptoms of the disease

Crohn's disease is characterized by digestive but also extradigestive manifestations. Here are the main ones.

Digestive symptoms :
- diarrhea, sometimes severe, with more or less mucus and pus; frequent, it is one of the first symptoms ;
- abdominal pain usually located in the right iliac fossa, permanent or throbbing ;
- ano-perineal manifestations.

Extradigestive symptoms :
- asthenia, anorexia, weight loss ;
- fever ;
- articular problems ;
- vascular and hematological disorders ;
- erythema, dermatosis, mouth ulcers ;
- hepatobiliary manifestations ...


• Medical treatment includes corticosteroids, slicycles, immunosuppressants, biotherapies, but also antispasmodics and analgesics for pain, and transit slowdowns in case of diarrhea.
Surgical treatment : interventions are recommended according to the circumstances and the part of the digestive tract affected by the lesions.
• Dietary measures : a fibre-free diet may be necessary in some cases, just as oral and hyperprotein intakes may be essential in cases of undernutrition.