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Crohn's disease toolkit

Clinician's toolkit

Crohn's disease

Crohn’s disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Symptoms include inflammation in the digestive tract, belly pain and cramps, diarrhea, weight loss and rectal bleeding.

Treatment for Crohn’s disease includes medications, nutrition supplementation, surgery or a combination. How to treat Crohn’s disease depends on where the disease is, severity, past complications and response to earlier treatments. 

AGA’s Crohn’s disease guidelines focus on how to use biomarkers for management of Crohn’s disease, how to manage Crohn’s after surgery and therapies for Crohn’s disease.

Healthy colon and colon with Crohn's disease

Crohn's disease guidelines

AGA’s clinical guidelines provide evidence-based recommendations to guide physician’s clinical practice decisions.

Role of biomarkers for the management of Crohn’s disease

In patients with Crohn’s disease, AGA suggests a monitoring strategy that combines biomarkers and symptoms, rather than relying on symptoms alone.

Medical management of moderate to severe luminal and perianal fistulizing Crohn’s disease

How to select the best drug therapy for your patients with moderate-to-severe luminal and fistulizing Crohn’s disease.

For physicians

More clinical guidance for physicians

AGA provides clinical practice updates that present state-of-the-art guidance and include a combination of evidence-based information, and when not available, best consensus opinion to help clinicians manage care of people with Crohn’s disease.

For physicians


AGA University helps physicians learn about how to care for people with Crohn’s disease – including understanding disease progression and how to treat Crohn’s disease.

For patients

Patient resources

AGA’s GI Patient Center can help your patients understand Crohn’s disease: symptoms, test, treatments, nutrition, surgery, complications. Through My IBD Life find resources related to navigating the workplace, vacation, intimacy, family planning and more as a person with Crohn’s disease.

Patient FAQs

Crohn’s disease FAQs

Learn more about Crohn’s disease, symptoms, testing and treatment below.

Crohn’s disease causes inflammation (pain and swelling) in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, also called the digestive system. Inflammation from Crohn’s disease can make it hard for you to take in nutrients during digestion. Crohn’s disease can have times of remission (time when you feel well) and relapse (when you feel ill). More about Crohn’s disease.

While there is no cure for Crohn’s disease, there are treatments that can help.

Crohn’s disease can be found in people of any age but is often found between ages 13 and 30. Crohn’s disease can occur in people of all races and ethnicities and is increasing all over the world. The extension of the disease has been reported to be greater in African Americans, Hispanics and Asians.

Right now, the cause of Crohn’s disease is not fully known. Experts think a few things could play a role in getting Crohn’s disease: autoimmune reaction, genes and the environment.

The symptoms of Crohn’s disease can vary from person to person, based on where the disease is in the body and how bad the inflammation is.

The most common symptoms of Crohn’s disease are:

  • Belly pain and cramps, often in the lower right side.
  • Diarrhea (loose stool).
  • Weight loss.
  • Rectal bleeding.
  • Fever.
  • Feeling tired or weak.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Anemia (low iron in your blood, which can make you feel weak and tired).
  • Joint pain.
  • Changes in skin (red bumps that are tender when touched).
  • Eye irritation.
  • Delayed development and stunted growth in children who have the disease.

The diagnosis of Crohn’s disease will usually require an evaluation by a gastroenterologist.

Depending on your health insurance, this may require a referral from your primary care physician and authorization from your medical insurer. This may also be a requirement for some of the special tests that the gastroenterologist will order to confirm the diagnosis and establish treatment.

There are many tests your gastroenterologist can do to find out if you have Crohn’s disease. Read more about tests for Crohn’s disease.

Treatment will depend on where the disease is and the severity of the disease, past complications, and response to earlier treatments. Treatment options for Crohn’s disease involve medications, nutrition supplementation, surgery or a combination. More about treatment options for Crohn’s disease.

Yes. There are two main types of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD): ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Symptoms can differ from person to person and depend on the type of IBD. More about IBD.

Consuming a wide variety of foods with fiber is important for gut health in patients with inflammatory bowel disease, or IBD. More tips about fiber.

During flares or active disease your Crohn’s disease symptoms may consist of many and/or urgent trips to the bathroom, loose stool, pain, cramps, gas, mucus and/or blood in stool, and pain management. AGA has nutrition tips for Crohn’s patients to help reduce symptoms and ease some of your discomfort.

If you have IBD, you need to work closely with your health care providers to make sure you are getting the vaccines you need at the right time. Review AGA’s recommendations for vaccines in adults with IBD. 

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