Is Crohn’s disease Genetic?

Is Crohn’s disease Genetic?

Crohn’s is a chronic inflammatory disorder that primarily affects the gastrointestinal tract. It forms part of a group of conditions called IBDs, or inflammatory bowel diseases. Although the cause remains unknown, evidence strongly points to a genetic component in the occurrence of the disease.

What is Crohn’s Disease?

Crohn’s belongs to a group of disorders called inflammatory bowel diseases. While it may affect any portion of the GIT from the mouth to the anus, much of it involves the end part of the small intestine and the beginning of the large intestine or colon, mainly. The symptoms can vary from person to person and can be mild or severe.

Is Crohn's disease Genetic?

Genetic Factors in Crohn’s Disease

There are various available studies that confirm a significant role of genetic factors in susceptibility to Crohn’s disease. Key points include the following:

  • Family History: A family history of Crohn’s disease increases a person’s risk. According to estimates, 15% of those who have Crohn’s disease have a close relative with the same disease.
  • Genes Involved: More than 200 genes involved in Crohn’s disease have been identified. The most prominent of these genes is NOD2/CARD15. Mutations in this gene are more frequent in subjects with Crohn’s and are believed to disrupt the body’s immune response to intestinal bacteria.
  • Genetic predisposing: If one possesses specific genetic markers, then he has a greater tendency to suffer from Crohn’s disease. Not everyone who possesses the markers ends up catching the disease, therefore showing that there are other causative factors besides genetic predisposition.

Environmental and Lifestyle Factors

While genetics play a critical role in this, they do not stand alone in the development of Crohn’s. Some environmental and lifestyle factors predispose one to it. These include:

  • Smoking: Smoking is one of the risk factors for Crohn’s disease and can also be an aggravating factor of its symptoms.
  • Diet: Certain foods and diets have at times been found to be provoking factors, but no diet has yet been identified as the cause of Crohn’s.
  • Infections: Modifications to the gut microbiome or previous infections may also lead to the induction of the disease.

Managing Crohn’s Disease

Knowing the genetic factor of Crohn’s can, therefore, facilitate its management. Patients can take these steps for Crohn’s Management:

  • Medical Advice: Always seek professional medical advice about diagnosis and treatment. Doctors may carry out genetic tests to understand your risk better.
  • Medications: There are several medications available that can help manage the symptoms and reduce inflammation.
  • Lifestyle Changes: Healthy living, balanced diet, regular exercise, shunning of smoking, etc may prevent or alleviate symptoms.
  • Monitoring Regularly: Regular follow-up checks and monitoring are essential for the management of this condition effectively and to avoid complications.


Understanding the genetic aspects can provide valuable insights for managing and potentially mitigating the impact of the disease. Patients should work closely with their healthcare providers to develop a personalized management plan that addresses their specific needs and circumstances.

Dr. Kailash Mishra
Director & Gastroenterologist Consultant
Prime Gastro Liver Clinic

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