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Crohn's disease - What will happen to me?

BMJ Group Medical Reference

Crohn's disease is a lifelong condition. However, there will be times when your symptoms get better, or even go away completely.

Here, we look at some of the statistics about how Crohn's could affect your life. You might find this information useful, but remember that you're not a statistic. The symptoms of Crohn's vary a lot from person to person. And the symptoms you get won't be the same all the time.

Even so, there's no getting away from the fact that Crohn's disease is a serious illness. It's likely that there will be times when it has a big impact on your life. It may affect the things you can and can't do. At times, it may even affect your ability to work. However, there will probably be other times when you only have mild symptoms, or even none at all. crohns-woman2_default.jpg

When you don't have symptoms, it's called being in remission. During remission, someone with Crohn's may have the same quality of life as someone who's perfectly healthy.[12] Up to 1 in 5 people with Crohn's don't get any more symptoms for a long time after their first flare-up.[13] Even if you get symptoms more regularly, there will be times when they go away or bother you less.

In the year after being diagnosed with Crohn's, about three-quarters of people are well enough to work normally.[3] For a quarter, however, Crohn's does affect their ability to work. But things might get better in the long run. After five or 10 years, only 15 in 100 people are unable to work.

Exactly what you're able to do will vary over time. For many people with Crohn's disease, there's a learning process. People get better at listening to their bodies and adapting their lives. It may also take some time to find the drug treatment that works best for you. We've collected some tips about minimising the impact Crohn's has on your life.To read more, see Living with Crohn's disease.

Children and Crohn's disease

Children who have Crohn's disease may grow more slowly than usual. In studies, this problem affected between 15 in 100 and 40 in 100 children.[14] Crohn's affects the parts of your body that digest food, so having the disease might make it harder for children to get all the nutrients they need. The inflammation that Crohn's causes might also affect how quickly children grow. The chemicals that produce inflammation in the body also seem to make an important growth hormone, called IGF-I, work less well.

In the long term, though, most children will reach their expected adult height, even if it takes them a bit longer.[14] One small study found that all children eventually reached normal height. Another study found that most children reached normal height, although a quarter of children ended up slightly shorter than expected.

Last Updated: June 29, 2012
This information does not replace medical advice.  If you are concerned you might have a medical problem please ask your Boots pharmacy team in your local Boots store, or see your doctor.
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