Crohn’s disease is a chronic condition that affects about 700,000 Americans.

It causes inflammation, swelling, and deep sores called ulcers in the body’s  digestive tract. Although it can involve any part of the digestive tract, Crohn’s disease most often affects the lower portion of the small intestine (the ileum) and the upper portion of the large intestine (the colon).

Crohn’s disease is similar to another chronic inflammatory condition that affects only the colon—ulcerative colitis. These diseases are part of a larger group of illnesses called inflammatory bowel disease.

Both Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis fluctuate between periods of remission and relapse. Neither have a medical cure, but medical and alternative therapies can reduce the symptoms that people with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis experience during times of relapse. In many cases, these therapies help people maintain a normal lifestyle with few interruptions from the diseases.