The most common symptoms are abdominal pain, diarrhoea, fever, weight loss and blood in the stools. Symptoms usually develop gradually. The responsibility of the primary care physician is to recognise the possibility of Crohn's disease and refer the patient for further investigations. The aim of treatment is symptom control, sustained remission without corticosteroids and the prevention of complications and relapses. Severe disease requires management in a hospital with expertise in Crohn's disease.