What is the age of onset of Crohn’s disease?

Crohn’s disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that causes swelling of the lining of the digestive tract. It can develop anywhere in the digestive tract, but is most common at the end of the small intestine or the beginning of the large intestine (colon). Although it can be diagnosed at any age, Crohn’s disease is usually diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 30.

This article discusses the age at onset of Crohn’s disease, who is most likely to get it, and the signs to look out for.

Crohn’s disease timeline

Crohn’s disease most commonly occurs at two different stages of life: between the ages of 20 and 30 or later in life, after the age of 60. However, it is not limited by age and can develop at any time.

development era

About 25% of people with Crohn’s disease will develop into children or young adults before the age of 20. However, most cases occur between the ages of 20 and 30.

As many as 15% of people with Crohn’s disease or other forms of IBD, including ulcerative colitis, are over the age of 60.

age at diagnosis

Because of some symptoms of Crohn’s disease – such as diarrhea and abdominal pain – which can be caused by a variety of conditions, and it’s not uncommon for people to have up to five years before symptoms are diagnosed. Diagnosis usually occurs in people between the ages of 20 and 30.

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Sometimes, Crohn’s disease causes no symptoms at all, which is called “silent Crohn’s disease.” Diagnosing silent Crohn’s disease can only be done through surgery, such as endoscopywhere lesions are visible.

Diagnosis of Crohn’s disease in children

Although pediatric Crohn’s disease was once considered rare, the number of cases in children under the age of 6 has increased. An estimated 40,000 children in the United States have Crohn’s disease.

signs and symptoms

Crohn’s disease can affect any part of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, from the mouth to the anus.

While symptoms vary from patient to patient, here are some common symptoms of Crohn’s disease:

  • Repeated diarrhea and flatulence
  • blood in stool
  • abdominal pain and cramps
  • Constipation (difficulty or infrequent bowel movements – usually less than 3 times a week)
  • Urgent need to have a bowel movement or feeling that the bowel movement is incomplete
  • abscess (a pocket of infection under the skin) near the anus

People with Crohn’s disease may also have fever, fatigue or loss of appetite and be malnourished.

If the disease is untreated or severe, people may develop abscesses, tears, and ulcers in internal tissues, and fistula, which are abnormal openings in the gastrointestinal tract. These can be treated with medication and sometimes surgery.

How to deal with a Crohn’s outbreak

How is Crohn’s disease diagnosed?

There is no single test that can diagnose Crohn’s disease. A healthcare provider will first rule out other reasons why you may have symptoms. This may include asking about family history, as Crohn’s disease tends to run in families and is more common in certain populations.

The provider will also ask about your personal medical history, including any symptoms you experienced and when they appeared. They will also conduct a physical examination.

Diagnosing Crohn’s disease may require some other tests or scans, including:

  • Laboratory tests, including blood and stool (feces) samples
  • Imaging studies such as ultrasound, X-ray, enterography (to look at the small intestine) or CT (computed tomography) scan to look for signs of swelling or ulcers in the digestive tract
  • colonoscopythis is an examination of your colon where a long, flexible tube with a camera is inserted into your rectum while you are sedated
  • Various forms of endoscopy, including upper endoscopy, in which healthcare providers insert a narrow flexible tube with a camera on the end into the mouth through the esophagus to view the stomach and small intestine

Telemedicine for Crohn’s Disease


People with Crohn’s disease, an inflammatory bowel disease, are usually diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 30. But people of any age — including young children and people over 60 — can get the disease. Crohn’s disease can cause symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, and anal ulcers. It can be diagnosed with various tests.

VigorTip words

If you have recurring digestive problems or any of the symptoms of Crohn’s disease, discuss these with your healthcare provider. Early treatment of Crohn’s disease and other digestive disorders is critical to your health and reducing potential damage to your digestive tract. Fortunately, there are many effective treatments for Crohn’s disease that can help you live and function well.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • At what age is Crohn’s disease usually diagnosed?

    Most people are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 30, but Crohn’s disease can develop at any time. People may have had the disease for years before being diagnosed because the symptoms are similar to other gastrointestinal disorders.

  • What are the early symptoms of Crohn’s disease?

    Symptoms can appear gradually or suddenly. Early symptoms include loss of appetite, abdominal pain, possible joint pain, and fever. If the condition progresses, you may experience symptoms such as black stools, urgent diarrhea, pain or bleeding around the rectum or anus.