Crohn's disease is an inflammatory bowel disease characterized by inflammation (swelling and redness) in the lining of the digestive tract. Crohn's disease can affect any area of the GI tract, from the mouth to the anus, but it most commonly affects the lower part of the small intestine, called the ileum.
Crohn's disease can penetrate deep layers of bowel tissue. The swelling can cause pain and can make the intestines empty frequently, resulting in diarrhea.
It’s estimated that as many as 780,000 Americans suffer from Crohn's disease. It affects men and women equally and can occur at any age. Most often, however, the onset of Crohn's occurs in adolescence and young adulthood, between the ages of 15 and 35.