Digestive Health

Updated 16 February 2018

What causes Crohn’s disease?

More research is needed to elucidate exactly what triggers the inflammation that characterises Crohn's disease.


Researchers speculate that a viral or bacterial infection may initiate the process by activating the immune system in the digestive tract.

The immune response may fade away when the inflammation has subsided. However, in some people, the immune system stays active.

This results in chronic inflammation in the intestines, even after the infection goes away.


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Digestive Health Expert

Dr. Estelle Wilken is a Senior Specialist in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology at Tygerberg Hospital. She obtained her MBChB in 1976, her MMed (Int) in 1991 and her gastroenterology registration in 1995.

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