Crohn’s disease can affect different parts of the digestive tract. By knowing which part of your system is affected, you will be able to determine what type of Crohn’s disease you have and what symptoms and complications you may experience. There are five different types of Crohn’s disease, namely:1
1. Ileocolitis — This type of Crohn’s disease affects the ileum, the lower part of the small intestine, and the colon, causing inflammation and irritation.
This is the type that affects most patients (at least 45 percent of people with Crohn’s disease have ileocolitis2
), and comes with symptoms such as diarrhea, pain or cramping in the middle or lower-right region of the abdomen, and significant weight loss.
2. Ileitis — Similar to ileocolitis, this type also causes inflammation and irritation in the ileum. The symptoms are the same as well.
The only difference is that when this type of Crohn’s disease worsens, it can cause inflammatory abscesses called fistulas to develop in the lower-right section of the abdomen. Ileitis is said to account for 30 percent of Crohn’s disease cases today.
3. Crohn’s (Granulomatous) colitis — If the inflammation largely affects your colon, the main part of the large intestine, then you have this type of Crohn’s disease. Crohn’s colitis makes up around 20 percent of Crohn’s disease cases.3
Its symptoms include rectal bleeding, diarrhea (which may or may not be stained with blood), fatigue, skin lesions, fistulas, and ulcers and abscesses around the anus. Joint pain is also common among Crohn’s colitis patients.
4. Gastroduodenal Crohn's disease — Having this type of ailment means that the inflammation and irritation occur in your stomach or the beginning of the small intestine, called the duodenum.
Symptoms of gastroduodenal Crohn's disease include lack of appetite, nausea, weight loss and vomiting (particularly if the small parts of the bowel are blocked). It’s fairly uncommon, as only 5 percent of Crohn’s patients have this type of the disease.
5. Jejunoileitis — Symptoms of this illness include cramps after meals, diarrhea, abdominal discomfort that may become severe, anemia, and appearance of fistulas.
If you have jejunoileitis, it means the inflammation and irritation can be found in the jejunum, which is the second part of the small intestine. This form of Crohn’s disease is also uncommon, and is more seen in children than adults.
Another form of Crohn’s disease is perianal Crohn’s disease, which causes inflammation around the anus. It may occur on its own or along with the other forms above. Up to a third of patients suffer from perianal Crohn’s disease, and its symptoms include pain or itching around the anal area, pus, skin tags, fissures, mucus or bleeding in the anus, and an urgency to pass stools.4
It is crucial to know which type of Crohn’s disease you have, as this will help your physician determine possible courses of treatment or pain relief. Consult a healthcare provider and have yourself tested right away to find out which type of this disease you’re struggling with.