Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory condition of the gastrointestinal tract. It belongs to a group of conditions known as Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD) which include ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease and that are defined by conventional clinical, radiological, histological and endoscopic criteria. Both illnesses are chronic with bouts of inflammatory activity.
Although Crohn’s disease often affects the large intestine, it most commonly affects the end of the small bowel (the ileum) and the beginning of the colon. However, it may affect any part of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, from the mouth to the anus. The inflammation begins with sores that over time can become ulcerous and can lead to tears or fistula in the lining of the anus, which go through the layers and reach other nearby structures.
The number of persons in Europe with Crohn’s disease are estimated to be about one million and almost one and a half million with inflammatory bowel disease. Persons between the ages of 25-40 are most apt to have these diseases and, in general, men and women alike are affected.