|MadSci Network: Medicine|
Crohn's disease is a disease characterized by inflammation of the wall of the intestine. It is one of a group of illnesses called "Inflammatory Bowel Disease" or IBD. It's cause is unknown. It characteristically affects several different parts of the intestine, with skipped areas that show no inflammation. It can affect any portion of the gastrointestinal tract from the small intestine to the anus. Symptoms vary from patient to patient, and vary over time, but most individuals with Crohn's disease have abdominal pain, cramping, and persistent diarrhea. In more severe cases, the inflammation can lead to perforation of the intestine, leading to infection that may require surgery. There are many excellent support groups for patients with Crohn's disease. Some good Web sources (there are many more, as well) for more information about Crohn's Disease are: NIH Crohn's and NIH Digestive System
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