Crohn's disease is an inflammatory bowel disease that causes inflammation throughout the digestive tract. This means that anything on the path from the mouth to the anus is susceptible to this inflammation. Most people experience symptoms in the small intestine and colon, spreading into the bowel tissue. While the exact cause is not known, scientists found heredity and a malfunctioning immune system may play a role. Other risk factors include age (usually develops before 30 years of age), living in an urban area, smoking, taking certain medications, and ethnic background.
One of the most common signs of Crohn's disease is frequent and persistent diarrhea. Many cases of this symptom are the result of inflammation that interferes with water and electrolyte absorption. If the body cannot effectively absorb water, stools retain too much fluid and diarrhea occurs. In Crohn's disease, diarrhea can develop due to increased concentration of bile acids. Bloody diarrhea develops as the epithelium that lines the gastrointestinal tract is destroyed. This causes blood and serum to leak into the stool.
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