Crohn’s disease is a condition that causes the lining of the gastrointestinal tract to become inflamed. Any part of the tract may be affected, although it usually occurs in the ileum (last part of small intestine) or the colon. The condition usually affects individuals between the ages of 15 and 40 and common symptoms include the following:
- Abdominal pain
- Weight loss
- Blood in stool
- Mucus in stoolIndividuals with Crohn’s may experience long periods of remission, where they have no symptoms or only very mild symptoms. This may then be followed by a “flare up” where symptoms return and can be particularly severe. For some people, symptoms may be absent for the majority of their lives, while others have a chronic and severe form of the condition where symptoms persist and never resolve.Crohn’s disease is named after the famous gastroenterologist, Dr. Burill Crohn. It first became regarded as a medical condition when it was described by Crohn and colleagues in 1932. However, the first explanation of Crohn’s was given by Giovanni Battista Morgagni, an Italian physician who diagnosed a patient suffering from a debilitating and long-term disease that caused diarrhea.
Further instances were described by John Berg in 1898 and by Antoni Lesniowski in 1904. in 1913, Kennedy Dalziel also reported on the condition at a British Medical Association meeting and the paper was published in the BMJ.
Physicians examining patients with the condition could clearly see the inflammation in the digestive system and patients, especially young adults, who had the disease during the 1920s and 1930s usually experienced diarrhea, weight loss, and abdominal cramps.