Causes of Crohn's Disease

The cause of Crohn's disease is unknown but it was a long-held belief to be diet and stress. Crohn's has also been thought of as an autoimmune disease, but some research suggests that the chronic inflammation may not be due to the immune system attacking the body itself, but rather a result of the immune system attacking a harmless virus, bacteria, or food in the gut.

Some researchers argue that improved hygiene throughout the developed world may be responsible for inflammatory bowel disease.

The more we sanitise our surroundings the more we kill off the common parasites our bodies need to function harmoniously. These parasites are still prevalent in developing countries which have very few recorded incidences of inflammatory bowel disease.

Crohn's Risk Factors

A few things can make you more likely to get Crohn’s disease:

Genetics:

Crohn's disease is often inherited. About 20% of people with Crohn's disease may have a close relative with either Crohn's or ulcerative colitis. In addition, Ashkenazi Jews are at greater risk for the disease

Age:

While Crohn's disease can affect people of all ages, it’s primarily an illness of the young. Most people are diagnosed before age 30, but the disease can happen in people in their 60s, 70s, or even later in life

Smoking:

This is the one risk factor that’s easy to control. Smoking can make Crohn’s more severe and raise the odds that you’ll need surgery

Medications:

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen, naproxen, and similar medications don’t cause Crohn’s disease, but they can lead to inflammation and in some instances, bleeding of the bowels that makes it worse.

The world around you:

People who live in urban areas or industrialised countries are more likely to get Crohn’s

Diet:

If you eat a lot of high-fat or processed foods, your odds of Crohn’s could go up.

Infections:

Bacteria linked to Crohn’s include Mycobacterium aviumparatuberculosism, which causes a similar condition in cattle, and a type of E. coli.

Diagnosing Crohn's Disease

It can be hard to distinguish between Crohn's and Colitis as they often have similar symptoms but are in fact treated quite differently.​

1. Your Doctor will take your full medical and family history

2. Blood tests to check for anaemia

3. Stool samples to rule out infections as the cause of diarrhoea

4. Endoscopy (colonoscopy) to inspect the colon via the anus and take a tissue sample for diagnosis

5. Gastroscopy to inspect the digestive tract via the mouth and take a tissue sample for diagnosis

6. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): This shows your doctor a clear picture of the inside of your body without using radiation

Charity Achievements

Key milestones reached by Bowel Cancer Foundation Trust

$1.1million

Dollars distributed in the last 12 months to fund research and provide equity of care and better patient outcomes

196

Bowel cancer survivors rehabilitated after gruelling treatment helping to reduce cancer re-occurrence

109+

Bowel screening kits provided to Kiwi’s who do not qualify for free public screening to detect bowel cancer early

7+

Years we've been making a difference for bowel cancer patients in New Zealand