Crohn's Disease Symptoms & Warning Signs
The typical symptoms of Crohn's disease include abdominal pain, fever, exhaustion, nausea, and chronic diarrhea. Gas and bloating, blood clots, constipation, facial swelling, internal bleeding, kidney stones, liver disease, arthritis, pain while defecating, rectal bleeding, and drastic weight loss are other symptoms.
These symptoms range from mild to severe, depending on the type of Crohn's disease, what part of the intestine is affected, and the extent of swelling. The symptoms of Crohn's disease are gastrointestinal, systemic, and extraintestinal.
Gastrointestinal symptoms include diarrhea and severe abdominal pain. The diarrhea may or may not be bloody. In severe cases, some people with Crohn's disease may have more than 20 bowel movements per day. Patients might also experience gas, bloating, and pain around the anus due to abscesses.
It is common for people with Crohn's disease to be incontinent, meaning that they are unable to control their bowel movements. The esophagus and stomach may be affected by Crohn's disease, and patients may develop ulcers, have trouble swallowing, and experience vomiting.
The systemic symptoms are prevalent among children, who are unable to grow properly due to malnutrition. People with Crohn's disease may lose weight due to appetite loss, and they may have trouble absorbing carbohydrates or lipids. People might develop slight fevers, and temperatures may become higher if an abscess is present.
In some cases, abnormal connections between organs called fistulas will develop. These fistulas may become infected and cause additional symptoms of pus, mucus, and drainage of stool.
Recognizing Symptoms and Warning Signs
Many Crohn's patients experience symptoms for a number of years before receiving an accurate diagnosis. At first, symptoms may be generalized and not point to any specific condition. You may appear to have a similar but different condition such as ulcerative colitis or irritable bowel syndrome. Many conditions can mirror Crohn's disease symptoms. Crohn's disease is a rare condition, and there are no tests available to ensure an accurate diagnosis. As a result, a doctor may need to diagnose the condition through process of elimination.
The condition affects people for life, and many patients will experience their first symptoms as young adults between the ages of 15 and 30; however, it is possible to show symptoms for the first time at any age. A number of people will develop their first symptoms of Crohn's disease as children or older adults.
Crohn's disease can cause problems within other organ systems. When the interior part of the eye is affected, patients may develop eye pain. This condition can result in vision loss if left untreated. Crohn's disease can also cause rheumatoid arthritis and affect the endocrine system. Patients with Crohn's disease also experience a higher risk of developing blood clots.
Crohn's disease can cause osteoporosis, which is a condition that affects bone density. People with osteoporosis experience a higher risk of developing bone fractures. Other possible conditions that result from Crohn's disease include seizures, strokes, peripheral neuropathy, headaches, and depression.
Crohn's disease patients are at risk for other medical complications including severe malnutrition, dehydration, incontinence and stomach ulcers.
If you experience frequent, chronic, or severe diarrhea, you will need to seek prompt medical attention. When you have Crohn's disease, you are not absorbing nutrients properly, and you are losing a substantial amount of fluid.
If you start vomiting and experience severe abdominal pain, you should see a doctor as soon as possible for an X-ray or ultrasound since you might be experiencing a partial or full bowel obstruction. In severe cases, bowel obstructions require surgery to repair the small and large intestine.
Children and elderly patients, especially, need close medical attention. Typically, Crohn's disease is most dangerous for very young and very old patients, since these age groups require substantial nutrition to maintain good health.
When you work with a doctor, you can successfully keep your symptoms under control. Especially during a flare-up, your life may become difficult, and you may have trouble establishing balance. Reach out to a medical professional as soon as possible for a constructive solution.