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Crohn's disease

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A condition in which segments of the alimentary tract become inflamed, thickened, ulcerated, and scarred. It can affect any part of the intestinal tract from mouth to anus; common areas affected are the small bowel and/or colon. It commonly affects the terminal part of the ileum, which in its acute form (acute ileitis) can mimic acute {appendicitis}. The main symptoms are abdominal pain, diarrhoea, tiredness, and loss of weight. Longstanding Crohn’s disease can often cause partial obstruction of the intestine due to stricture(s) and malabsorption. Fistulae around the anus, between adjacent loops of intestine, or from intestine to skin, bladder, etc., are known complications of Crohn’s disease. The cause is unknown, but various environmental and genetic factors are thought to be involved. Treatment includes aminosalicylates, corticosteroids, immunosuppressant drugs, monoclonal antibodies, antibiotics, dietary modification, or (in many cases) surgical correction or removal of the affected part of the intestine. Alternative names: regional enteritis, regional ileitis. B. B. Crohn (1884–1983), US physician

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