Crohn’s Disease: Understanding the Link Between the Immune System and Digestive Health

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Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory condition that affects the gastrointestinal tract. Traditionally, scientists believed Crohn’s was an autoimmune disorder caused by an overreactive immune system. However, Dr Lane Sebring says, recent research has found that it’s linked to an imbalance in gut bacteria called dysbiosis. That means you might need a specific diet or supplements for your condition—or both!

What is Crohn’s disease?

Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It can affect any part of the digestive tract, from your mouth to your anus. Crohn’s disease is a chronic condition that can cause pain, diarrhea, and weight loss.

In Crohn’s disease there are periods when inflammation flares up in the intestines–this is called a flare-up or relapse; this happens over and over again throughout someone’s life with this condition.

What causes Crohn’s disease?

Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory condition of the gastrointestinal tract. The exact cause of Crohn’s disease is unknown, but it is related to a combination of factors that include genetics and environmental triggers.

Crohn’s disease can affect any part of your digestive tract from your mouth to your anus (the end of your digestive tract). If you have Crohn’s disease in only one area, it’s called “localized” or “limited” forms of this condition. If you have inflammation throughout most or all parts of your digestive system (colon), then this would be considered as having an “extensive form” or “wide-spread” variant

Are there any genetic links to Crohn’s disease?

Genetics are not the only factor in developing Crohn’s disease, but they do play a role. Genetics may help determine how your body responds to certain triggers and infections, which can then lead to symptoms of Crohn’s disease.

Genetic testing can also be used to predict whether or not you’re at increased risk for developing Crohn’s disease in the future. This information can be helpful when deciding whether or not it’s worth taking preventive measures–like avoiding certain foods–to try and prevent symptoms from occurring later on down the road.

How is Crohn’s disease treated?

Treatment for Crohn’s disease is usually a combination of medication, surgery and diet. Medications may include:

  • Antibiotics to treat infections associated with the condition
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs that reduce swelling in the digestive tract and decrease pain
  • Immunosuppressants to reduce the body’s immune response to food proteins that could trigger inflammation and disease symptoms (antibodies against specific proteins have been found in people with Crohn’s disease).

Surgery can be used as part of treatment for Crohn’s if medicines aren’t effective or if complications arise from the condition. Surgery options include removing part of your colon (the section from where waste leaves your body) or removing all of it (called an ileostomy), replacing diseased sections with healthy tissue taken from one place on your body (called intestine transplants), draining fluid from pockets around inflamed areas, removing scar tissue caused by previous surgeries or inflammation in order to allow more room for healthy intestinal walls (also called resection surgery), repairing fistulas created between organs due to inflammation such as ulcers forming between loops inside large intestine sections called colitis


Crohn’s disease is a chronic condition that affects the gastrointestinal tract. It can cause symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhea and vomiting. The exact cause of Crohn’s disease is unknown, but research suggests that there may be some genetic links as well as an immune system connection.

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