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What are the symptoms of Crohn's disease?

Common symptoms of Crohn's disease include abdominal pain, diarrhea, and weight loss. Less common symptoms include poor appetite, fever, night sweats, rectal pain, and occasionally rectal bleeding. The symptoms of Crohn's disease are dependent on the location, the extent, and the severity of the inflammation. The different subtypes of Crohn's disease and their symptoms are:

  1. Crohn's colitis is inflammation that is confined to the colon. Abdominal pain and bloody diarrhea are the common symptoms. Anal fistulae and peri-rectal abscesses also can occur.
  2. Crohn's enteritis refers to inflammation confined to the small intestine (the first part, called the jejunum or the second part, called the ileum). Involvement of the ileum alone is referred to as Crohn's ileitis. Abdominal pain and diarrhea are the common symptoms. Obstruction of the small intestine also can occur.
  3. Crohn's terminal ileitis is inflammation that affects only the very end of the small intestine (terminal ileum), the part of the small intestine closest to the colon. Abdominal pain and diarrhea are the common symptoms. Small intestinal obstruction also can occur.
  4. Crohn's entero-colitis and ileo-colitis are terms to describe inflammation that involve both the small intestine and the colon. Bloody diarrhea and abdominal pain are the common symptoms. Small intestinal obstruction also can occur.

Crohn's terminal ileitis and ileo-colitis are the most common types of Crohn's disease. (Ulcerative colitis frequently involves only the rectum or rectum and sigmoid colon at the distal end of the colon. These are called ulcerative proctitis and procto-sigmoiditis, respectively.)

Up to one-third of patients with Crohn's disease may have one or more of the following conditions involving the anal area:

  1. Swelling of the tissue of the anal sphincter, the muscle at the end of the colon that controls defecation.
  2. Development of ulcers and fissures (long ulcers) within the anal sphincter. These ulcers and fissures can cause bleeding and pain with defecation.
  3. Development of anal fistulae (abnormal tunnels) between the anus or rectum and the skin surrounding the anus). Mucous and pus may drain from the openings of the fistulae on the skin.
  4. Development of peri-rectal abscesses (collections of pus in the anal and rectal area). Peri-rectal abscesses can cause fever, pain and tenderness around the anus.
Return to Crohn's Disease

See what others are saying

Comment from: Angzcool, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: November 24

I was diagnosed with Crohn's disease at 35. I have cramps in my upper abdomen that hurt through to my back followed by vomiting which gives me relief from the pain for a few minutes. This continues over and over eventually occurring almost constantly. CT and barium swallow showed Crohn's in my jejunum and fluid in my lower abdomen. The fluid confuses the gastroenterologist. I think it's from all the heaving. I was on Pentasa for a short time and prednisone for a long time. I lose weight quickly during a flare but gain it all back when in remission. I have pain when I eat high fiber foods, beans, corn, popcorn, etc. I also have 2 to 3 bowel movements a day most days and have spells of weakness and tiredness on those days. I'm also nauseous a lot.

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Comment from: jdalan, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: April 14

I was diagnosed with Crohn's disease at the age of nine. I had no symptoms at all, until one day I experienced severe stabbing abdominal pain; and I was rushed into surgery to remove a mass around my large intestine. Seven years later the same thing happened with no acute symptoms in between. Six years after that I began to feel ill, lose weight and I became anemic for several months before surgery number three. Since this I have had six more surgeries and I have lived with symptoms daily. I have abdominal pain, cramps alternating diarrhea and constipation. I have to takes medications constantly.

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Comment from: S. N, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: February 25

The problems started when I was 17 years old. I had very loose stools immediately after I ate. I took treatments but nothing worked properly. In the long run I started falling sick every other day either with fever or with diarrhea and vomiting. Later on I developed joint pains too. All the tests showed nothing wrong in me. People accused me for pretending to be sick. There was a pain on the right side of my stomach which makes it hard for me to bend or even lie on that side. At last when I was 28 years old I got the correct diagnosis. I have Crohn's disease in my small intestine and wall thickening in three places. I am happy that people stopped accusing me for pretending to be sick. Other than that there is not much change in my condition. I am not able to eat anything which is rich in fiber. On and off I get swellings all over my body and it goes off too.

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