Crohn's Disease 

By: CPMC Genetic Counseling Staff
Reviewed by: Dr. Andrew R. Conn, MD, Cooper University Hospital

Crohn's disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). IBD is a general name for a group of chronic, relapsing, autoimmune diseases that affect the bowel. Although IBD can occur at any age, onset is typically between ages 15 to 30 years old with a second peak around age 50. The most common types of IBD are Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Crohn's disease causes inflammation to occur in patches. The most frequent areas affected are the small intestine, and the colon, although any part of the intestinal tract from the mouth to the anus can be involved. This inflammation can lead to abdominal pain, severe diarrhea, bleeding and malnutrition that limits growth.

Because the inflammation in Crohn's disease involves the full thickness of the bowel, without treatment it can lead to abscesses (swollen, pus filled areas), blockage of the bowels, and fistulas. Fistulas are abnormal passageways between one part of the digestive tract and another or from the digestive tract to another organ such as the vagina or bladder.

How Common is Crohn's Disease?

In North America, as many as 630,000 people suffer from Crohn's disease. Between 10,000 and 47,000 individuals living in the United States and Canada are diagnosed with Crohn's disease every year1.

To schedule a free telephone consultation to discuss your CPMC results with a board-certified genetic counselor, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Learn more about Crohn's Disease, from symptoms to understanding your risk, through the links below.

Page References

1. Loftus EV. Clinical epidemiology of inflammatory bowel disease: incidence, prevalence, and environmental influences. Gastro.2004;126(6):1504–17.

Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment

Learn more about Crohn's Disease [ Learn More › ]

Risk Factors

Both genetic and non-genetic factors play a role in Crohn's Disease [ Learn More › ]


Reduce Your Risk

Risk-reducing behaviors for Crohn's Disease [ Learn More › ]

The CPMC Study

Learn how the CPMC Study identifies your risk for Crohn's Disease [ Learn More › ]


Educational Sessions

An educational video series on Crohn's Disease [ Learn More › ]