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10 Common Symptoms of Crohn's Disease


Crohn’s Disease is a chronic condition of inflammatory bowels. It affects the lining of your digestive tract, where inflammation and scarring in your intestines causes abdominal pain and cramps. Crohn's Disease may trigger life-threatening complications.

Crohn’s Disease is a rare condition, with less than 200,000 cases diagnosed each year in the United States. Although it is not curable, steroidal and immunosuppressant medications and surgery can slow progression of Crohn’s Disease. However, Crohn's Disease patients are at greater risk of colorectal cancer. Some Crohn’s Disease patients have no symptoms most of their lives, but others experience severe, chronic symptoms.

Symptom 1: Cramps/Pain

Do you have cramps in your abdomen? Pain in your joints or rectum? Is the pain mild or severe? Do the cramps and pain come and go, but usually occur after eating? With Crohn’s Disease, inflammation of your digestive tract can cause pain and cramps.

In an article on everyday Health by Vonda Sines, she stated: “Crohn's disease hurts. When it hurts, how much it hurts and what to do about it are all worrisome to patients and their doctors. I’m fortunate.  For the past two years, I haven’t had much discomfort beyond light cramping and urgency, both of which are associated with short bowel syndrome in patients who have had as much small bowel surgery as I’ve had. Most patients experience pain from cramping or soreness in specific spots in the abdomen from time to time in addition to other common symptoms like diarrhea.”

Symptom 2: Fever

Do you have a fever? With Crohn’s Disease, you may get a fever because of the low-grade inflammation related to the disease. Also, you may have a fever when there is a flare up of the condition.

Or, the medications you take for Crohn’s Disease can cause you to have a fever.

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Symptom 3: Bloody Stool

Is there blood in your bowel movements? Are your bowels obstructed? If Crohn’s Disease is found in your colon or rectum, you may have blood in or on your stool. The blood may be a bright red to black color.

According to a post on Crohn’s Forum, one patient stated: “This morning I woke up to having for the first time ever blood in my stool. The weird part about it is that I have no pain or discomfort. I feel fine. I have had Crohn's for a little over 5 years but have never had any blood in my stool which is causing me some stress.”

Symptom 4: Fatigue

Do you feel tired all the time? Are you drained? Have no energy? Crohn’s Disease can cause fatigue.

In a post on Crohn’s Forum, one patient stated: “Hi everyone. I've been diagnosed with Crohn's Disease for about a year now. For about a year and a half, I've been excessively tired which I attribute to the Crohns. Is anyone else always tired and exhausted? It's been a long journey, one that I'd prefer not to be on. And yet I get the feeling it's only just begun.”

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Symptom 5: Weight Loss

Do you lose weight without intentionally trying to? It may be due to the medications you take to treat Crohn’s Disease. Also, you may lose weight because you try and avoid certain foods that trigger flare ups.

However, losing weight can lead to malnutrition because you are not getting enough calories to meet your body’s needs.

Symptom 6: Diarrhea

Is your stool watery? Do you have frequent bowel movements? Are they painful?

In a post on Crohn’s Forum, one sufferer stated: “I was diagnosed with Crohns Disease in March. I am frustrated. I haven’t had a bowel movement for 2 weeks I have used 5 enemas, which only produced 3 small bowel movements, other 2 were simply water. I have tried EVERYTHING to go. I went to docs' office 2 this week. Second time because I have started vomiting, can't eat, I am horribly distended, and getting cold sweats. They sent me to ER, there they took blood (which showed my throid was low) and took a cat scan (which Amiteh showed that I was quite backed up). They gave me IV and sent me home with 6 pain pills and told me to take mylax. Hello! Been there am doing that, walking, massaging, water water and more water, prune juice 2 daily, stool softener overload, fiber supplements and everything else. This was Friday, they said I had no obstruction and said follow up with doc on Tues. I am hurting and miserable. I just wonder why no one seems overly concerned. My doc is on vaca so the on-call doc did call in a med that is to help encourage me to go it’s called ametiza. Taken 3 of them So far now luck last bm was small on Thursday. Enema yesterday..nothing at all. I can't eat, and I feel I will burst. I am tired because I haven’t been able to eat much. Has anyone had this problem? I am completely miserable and don't know what else to do. Any info would help plz.”

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Symptom 7: Anemia

Have you lost a lot of blood due to Crohn’s Disease? You may be anemic.

Crohn’s Disease can reduce your number of red blood cells, causing anemia. Anemia is also due to low iron levels because of bloody stools or intestinal inflammation. Anal tears and fissures, as well as ulcers on your digestive tract lining, can lead to anemia.

Symptom 8: Nausea/Vomiting

Are you nauseated? Feel like vomiting? When you eat something, Crohn’s Disease can cause nausea and vomiting. Otherwise, you may avoid eating or eat less to prevent pain and other symptoms of Crohn’s Disease.

According to a post on Patient.info: “I had severe periods of abdominal pain and vomiting which got worse over time, lasting for about 24-48 hours. This was accompanied by bloating and reflux. It was a result of a blockage at the terminal ileum. I'd go into hospital for pain relief and fluids and then be sent home again until next time.”

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Symptom 9: Bloating

Do you feel bloated? Does your stomach make gurgling sounds? Do you frequently fart? Welcome to Crohn’s Disease! Bloating with Crohn’s Disease can be painful and worrisome. Try to avoid fatty foods that keep your stomach full and causes uncomfortable bloating.

According to a post on HealingWell.com, one patient stated: “I am 17 years old and I have recently been diagnosed with Crohn's disease. The worse symptoms for me are bloating and fatigue. Every night I go to sleep looking like I am 6 months pregnant. No matter what I eat my stomach gets bigger and bigger and bigger throughout the day.”

Symptom 10: Loss of Appetite

Don’t feel like eating? Avoiding eating because of the pain and discomfort caused by Crohn’s Disease?

According to a post on HealingWell.com, one patient stated: “Is there anyone with CD that has issues with losing your appetite and or losing weight really fast? I have had CD since 2005 and occasionally I seem to lose my appetite and lose weight without even trying. It’s not that I don’t want to eat, I get hungry and want to eat but when it comes to it and I have the food in front of me I will eat half of it even sometimes not even half and then feel full and can’t finish it and because of my poor appetite I am losing weight.”

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