What Causes Crohn’s Disease?
What’s the problem?
Researchers have not yet identified the cause of Crohn’s disease, so it is commonly referred to as an “idiopathic” disease. Inflammation is a natural part of the body’s immune response, and an immune response is usually triggered by something. But, to date, no specific “trigger” has been found to cause the inflammatory response seen in Crohn’s disease.
Some possible environmental factors have been linked to Crohn’s disease. It appears to be a disease that primarily affects those living in western industrialized societies. Whether this is due to some environmental condition in which people live or their diet has yet to be determined. Some evidence also suggests that flare-ups of Crohn’s disease are a heightened response to seasonal allergies, upper-respiratory infections, or other transient illnesses.
Recent studies have linked Crohn’s disease to the acne medication Accutane. The FDA has required Hoffmann-La Roche to change their label for the medication to include a warning about the link. The label states “Inflammatory bowel disease: Accutane has been associated with inflammatory bowel disease (including regional ileitis) in patients with a prior history of intestinal disorders. In some instances, symptoms have been reported to persist after Accutane treatment has been stopped. Patients experiencing abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, or severe diarrhea should discontinue Accutane immediately.