Types of Crohn’s Disease: Which IBD Do You Have?

The world of gastrointestinal disorders is a complicated one. We all have unique gut biomes, genetics, and dietary preferences. All of these play a critical role in determining the GI conditions we have. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to wellness. That’s why there are five types of Crohn’s Disease. Which one might you have?

Rise in Crohn’s Disease

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), about 1.3% of people suffer from Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD) [1]. There are two diseases classified as IBD, which are ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s Disease.

Unfortunately, new research suggests that there are actually three times the amount of people who have Crohn’s [2]. A new report by Researchers from Sandwell and West Birmingham hospitals NHS trust and the University of Birmingham found that these undetected cases of IBD led to a 23% greater chance of developing colorectal cancer.

One of the analysts, Dominic King, told EurekAlert,

“Our study suggests that IBD prevalence is likely to rise substantially over the next decade. As there is currently no known cure for IBD, patients will often need complex and costly treatments throughout their lives. This predicted rise in prevalence may place an even greater strain on already overburdened healthcare systems.”

Dominic King to EurekAlert

With the rise of Crohn’s Disease, it’s important to spread awareness. The first thing is to get educated yourself. Then, figure out which type of Crohn’s Disease you might have. That way, you can have a more knowledgeable conversation with your gastroenterologist.

What is Crohn’s Disease?

Crohn’s Disease is an inflammation of the GI tract. The GI tract covers a lot of ground, spanning from your mouth to your anus. Therefore, Crohn’s Disease can spring up anywhere along those areas.

IBD got you like WTF?

In addition, each area comes with its own set of uncomfortable symptoms, which may include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Malnutrition
  • Bloating
  • Mental Health Issues

Seeing as Crohn’s Disease can create issues in various parts of the body, symptoms will vary by case. That’s why there are five distinct types of Crohn’s Disease.

What Causes Crohn’s Disease?

No one is sure exactly what causes it. However, there are several factors at play that experts believe play a role.

Immune System

Immune system cells are responsible for inflammation in the system. Therefore, when chronic inflammation is the cause of Crohn’s Disease, the immune system is at play. With that said, research notes that none of the types of Crohn’s Disease meet the criteria of being classified as an autoimmune disorder [3].

Genetics

Predisposition to illnesses plays a big role in many disorders. After all, it’s our parent’s immune system that creates ours. While scientists discovered that STAT4 is the gene for ulcerative colitis predisposition, the one for Crohn’s hasn’t been found yet [4].

Diet

Diet will always play a role in health-related matters. Eating foods rich in fat and artificial ingredients is only going to clog your insides up. Over time, blood won’t be able to circulate the body, which will cause cells to die off. Poor diet is a recipe for any disease, including all the types of Crohn’s Disease.

Gut Bacteria

ibd types of crohn's disease
Immune cell looking at E.coli

Approximately 80% of your immune cells derive from your gut. Therefore, the first beings to greet your newfound immune cells are stomach bacteria. So, if these immune cells are coming out of the wound swinging, of course you will always have chronic inflammation.

The most common stomach bacteria present in cases of Crohn’s Disease are Escherichia coli (E.coli) and Serratia marcescens [5]. In abundance, these bacteria can cause a number of urinary tract and GI problems.

Enzymes

Recent studies show that E.coli does even more harm than cause problems; it may trigger a case of Crohn’s Disease. These pathogenic bacteria release an enzyme known as urease [6].

When E.coli interact with this urease, it creates ammonia. These stomach bacteria use the ammonia as an energy resource because it is very rich in nitrogen. This nitrogen is then used as amino acids to help the E.coli colony grow stronger. As a result, your gut biome remains inflamed, causing one of the types of Crohn’s Disease.

Five Types of Crohn’s Disease

Now that you have a solid foundation on IBD, let’s figure out which the types of Crohn’s Disease hit a little close to home. Here are the five types of Crohn’s Disease and their unique symptoms.

Crohn’s Colitis or Granulomatous Colitis

This type of Crohn’s Disease only affects the large intestine (or colon). It plays a critical role in our waste management system because it’s the left step of the process. Our large intestine filters any last minute water and electrolytes back into our system. The rest gets expunged.

Symptoms of Crohn’s colitis include:

types of crohn's disease symptoms
A life in pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Bloody Stools
  • Bowel Ulcers
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Skin Lesions
  • Joint Pain

70% of cases of granulomatous colitis are caused by a CYBB gene mutation in an X-chromosome [7]. This finding would suggest genetics plays a significant role in Crohn’s colitis.

Ileocolitis

different types of crohn's disease
Can be agonizing

As we move closer to the gut on our journey of types of Crohn’s Disease, we land at ileocolitis. This type of Crohn’s Disease affects multiple parts of the intestines. It does have impact on the large intestine. However, the small intestine gets the brunt of it’s anti-benefits.

The lower part of the small intestines has the ileum. Ileum is responsible for helping our bodies absorb Vitamin B12 [8]. Vitamin B12 is an essential vitamin for cell production. Therefore, malabsorption of Vitamin B12 can cause inflammation that results in Crohn’s Disease.

Ileitis

As the name suggests, ileitis also affects the ileum. Unlike ileocolitis, that’s all it affects. However, that’s enough!

types of crohn's disease cause skin problems
Crohn’s can affect the exterior too

Symptoms of both ileitis and ileocolitis include:

When people have ileitis, they may start producing gastrointestinal fistulas [9]. These are passageways that connect the gut biome to other structures in the body, such as the skin.

When this happens, digestive fluids can leak through the fistulas, creating abscesses. They may also lead to autoimmune skin conditions, such as psoriasis.

Jejunoileitis

Moving up the GI tract of types of Crohn’s Disease, and we arrive at jejunoileitis. Jejunoileitis affects the upper half of the small intestine. In particular, it’s the inflammation of our jejunum.

Symptoms of jejunoileitis may include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal Cramping
  • Mental Health Issues
The gut-brain-axis is affected by Crohn’s Disease

The jejunum plays a significant role in how we function. It’s responsible for our absorption of fatty acids. These are what our brain uses as fuel. We also rely on the jejunum to absorb sugars that propel our muscles to crush the day! Our cells also rely on the jejunum for amino acids so they can grow stronger in the face of IBD.

Gastroduodenal Crohn’s Disease

Of the types of Crohn’s Disease, this is the farthest-reaching. Gastroduodenal Crohn’s Disease affects the esophagus, mouth, and the duodenum of the small intestine. That’s why symptoms of Gastroduodenal Crohn’s Disease vary from the regular symptoms other types of Crohn’s Disease display.

Symptoms of Gastroduodenal Crohn’s Disease include:

Even the mouth is affected by Crohn’s
  • Mouth Sores
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Weight Loss

We rely on our duodenum to break down chyme. This substance is created by our stomach muscles when it partially digests food. When the highly acidic chyme remains unabsorbed by the duodenum, it creates more damage along the gut barrier.

Which Types of Crohn’s Disease Do You Have?

Did any of these types of Crohn’s Disease resonate with your story? Then you should see your gastroenterologist as soon as possible. All the knowledge in the world doesn’t give you the credentials to diagnose yourself with IBD.

While you work out your GI issues with doc, let us help. Get your gut tested to see which stomach bacteria set you up for Crohn’s Disease. Share this information with your doctor so they can help you tailor a wellness plan.

Thryve Probiotics Gut Health

Resources

[1] “Data and Statistics.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 21 Mar. 2019, www.cdc.gov/ibd/data-statistics.htm.

[2] EurekAlert. “IBD Prevalence Three Times Higher than Estimates and Expected to Rise, New Study Reveals.” EurekAlert!, 21 Oct. 2019, eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-10/sh-ipt101419.php.

[3] Marks, D. J., Rahman, F. Z., Sewell, G. W., & Segal, A. W. (2010). Crohn’s disease: an immune deficiency state. Clinical reviews in allergy & immunology38(1), 20–31. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12016-009-8133-2

[4] Diaz-Gallo, Lina Marcela, et al. “STAT4 Gene Influences Genetic Predisposition to Ulcerative Colitis but Not Crohn’s Disease in the Spanish Population: a Replication Study.” Human Immunology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, May 2010, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20153791.

[5] Blaszczak-Boxe, Agata. “Gut Fungus Suspected in Crohn’s Disease.” Scientific American, Scientific American, 3 Oct. 2016, www.scientificamerican.com/article/gut-fungus-suspected-in-crohn-s-disease/.

[6] “Changing Gut Bacteria in Crohn’s Disease.” National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 12 Dec. 2017, www.nih.gov/news-events/nih-research-matters/changing-gut-bacteria-crohns-disease.

[7] Peixoto, A., Coelho, R., Maia, T., Sarmento, A., Magro, F., & Macedo, G. (2017). Chronic Granulomatous Disease Mimicking Colonic Crohn’s Disease Successfully Treated with Infliximab. ACG case reports journal4, e46. https://doi.org/10.14309/crj.2017.46

[8] Collins JT, Badireddy M. Anatomy, Abdomen and Pelvis, Small Intestine. [Updated 2019 Apr 5]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2020 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK459366/

[9] Dilauro, S., & Crum-Cianflone, N. F. (2010). Ileitis: when it is not Crohn’s disease. Current gastroenterology reports12(4), 249–258. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11894-010-0112-5