Signs & Symptoms of Crohn’s Disease
Crohn’s disease can cause inflammation in different areas of the body depending upon the patient. For some people, this disease may only affect their small intestine. While in others, inflammation could be confined to their colon, or that area of the large intestine. Both the colon and the last part of the small intestine (the ileum) are the most commonly affected by Crohn’s disease. In other cases, inflammation could be confined to the walls of the patient’s bowels, which can eventually result in scarring (stenosis). In more severe cases, this inflammation can even spread through the walls of the bowels (fistula). If you have Crohn’s disease, then you may be interested in taking part in one of our Crohn’s disease clinical trials in DeLand, FL.
As with many other medical conditions, the signs and symptoms associated with Crohn’s disease can range from mild to severe. These symptoms could also come on rather suddenly, without any pretense, or they may develop fairly slowly. This is also a disease which can enter into periods of remission, where patients will not experience any signs or symptoms. When Crohn’s disease is active, the symptoms can include:
- Cramping and Abdominal Pain
- Blood in the Stool
- Reduced Appetite and Weight Loss
Cramping and Abdominal Pain
Inflammation is one of the primary symptoms of Crohn’s disease, and this can cause the portions of the bowel to swell and thicken with scar tissue over time. As you could imagine, this will affect how digested food moves through the digestive tract, causing additional pain and cramping. In more mild cases of Crohn’s disease, patients will usually experience only a moderate level of intestinal discomfort. However, the most serious cases cause pain that is so severe, it will lead to additional nausea and vomiting.
The inflammation that Crohn’s disease causes various cells around the affected locations of the intestine to expel copious amounts of salt and water. Unfortunately, the colon is not designed to be able to handle all of this extra fluid, and the patient will develop diarrhea. In addition, the added intestinal cramping can lead to even more loose stools. Diarrhea has been identified as a very common problem for people who have been diagnosed with Crohn’s.
Blood in the Stool
As digested food moves through the affected digestive tract may cause some of the more inflamed tissue to bleed, and in other cases the bowel may start to bleed on its own. Following a movement, one may notice some bright red blood in the toilet or other blood actually mixed in with the stool. It is important to note that some patients may be bleeding but never see it (this is known as occult blood).
Reduced Appetite and Weight Loss
Many patients who are living with Crohn’s disease find that their appetite has decreased. Much of the cramping, abdominal pain, and inflammation that this disease causes can have a drastic effect on a person’s appetite and their ability to adequately digest and absorb food.
Another issue that is commonly associated with Crohn’s disease is ulcers. These ulcers are small sores which can develop on the surface of the intestine, and when left untreated, these can develop into large ulcers that can penetrate deep into the walls of the intestine. Some patients may also develop ulcers in the mouth that are similar to canker sores.
Other Symptoms of Crohn’s
People who have more severe cases of Crohn’s disease may experience some of these other symptoms as well:
- Eye Inflammation
- Skin Disorders
- Inflammation of the liver or bile ducts
- Mouth Sores
- Delayed growth or sexual development, in children
If you or a loved one has been experiencing any of these symptoms, or you have been experiencing persistent changes in your bowel habits, then please do not hesitate to talk to your doctor about it. Crohn’s disease can become quite debilitating when not properly treated, so do not ignore the potential signs.