Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Could Crohn's disease develop from less serious medical problems?"
Can less serious medical conditions like irritable bowel syndrome lead to chronic problems like Crohn's disease or gluten intolerance?
Crohn's disease is a condition in which the body's immune system attacks it's own gastrointestinal wall. This causes bloody diarrhea, abdominal pain, sometimes weight loss, and many other symptoms. If severe enough, it can cause the colon and other parts of the intestine to stop working completely requiring that it be removed. Irritable bowel syndrome and gluten intolerance are two other gastrointestinal conditions which are completely unrelated to Crohn's disease. Irritable bowel syndrome is a condition in which normal movements and activities of the bowel can cause discomfort, diarrhea, or even constipation. These symptoms are often relieved by defecating. Gluten sensitivity enteritis (also known as celiac sprue) is a condition in which the body reacts to a protein found in wheat called gluten. This causes an inflammatory response in the small bowel resulting in damage to the inner lining. The results are frequent diarrhea and abdominal pain. If you are still having trouble with your bowel, you should schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. He or she can take a detailed history of your symptoms and perform a thorough physical exam. If there is any question that you may have Crohn's disease, then you may warrant referral to see a gastroenterologist.