Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that affects each person differently. The condition is characterized by periods of flare-ups and remissions. Flare-ups are active periods of the illness when you experience the symptoms, whereas remissions are periods when you remain symptom-free.
Crohn’s disease most commonly affects the small or large intestine, although it can affect any part of your body, from your mouth to the anus.
Symptoms of Crohn’s disease can range from mild to severe and can appear suddenly or start gradually.
Common warning signs (or symptoms) of Crohn’s disease include:
Other less common symptoms include:
- Persistent diarrhea
- Urgent need to move bowels
- Rectal bleeding (blood in your stool)
- A sensation of incomplete bowel evacuation
- Loss of appetite
In children, Crohn’s disease can manifest as delayed sexual growth or development.
If you or your child develop these signs and symptoms, only a doctor can fully diagnose you with Crohn’s disease. You may have another condition (and not Crohn’s) that is causing the symptoms. Schedule an appointment with your doctor for early diagnosis and treatment.
What are the complications of Crohn’s disease?
In severe cases, Crohn’s disease may cause complications that necessitate emergency surgery, including:
- Fissures: These are tears in your anus resulting in symptoms such as abdominal pain and blood in your stool during bowel movements.
- Anal fistula: Fistula is an abnormal connection that forms in the same organ or between two organs. It can also form between one part of the intestine and another or between the intestine and bladder, vagina or skin. It is most common in the anal area.
- Ulcers: Ulcers are open sores that can develop anywhere in your colon, including your anus.
- Strictures: Stricture is a narrowing of the intestine due to long-term inflammation.
- Bowel obstruction: Strictures in many parts of the bowel can block the flow of digestive contents through the organ in a condition known as bowel obstruction.
As Crohn’s disease progresses, you may develop other complications that affect your overall health and quality of life, which include:
- Mouth sores
- Skin disorders (bumps and rash)
- Arthritis (swollen and painful joints)
- Gallbladder disease
- Liver disease
- Kidney stones
- Redness or pain in the eyes
- Vision changes
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Night sweats
- Loss of normal menstrual cycle
How is Crohn’s disease diagnosed?
Your doctor will inquire regarding your signs and symptoms and perform a physical examination. They will also take your family history and medical history into account.
To find out whether you have Crohn’s disease or another condition that is causing your symptoms, they will order tests that include:
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Top What Are the Warning Signs of Crohn’s Disease Related Articles
What Are the Best Foods to Eat With Crohn’s Disease?Your diet for Crohn’s disease will vary depending on the food triggers that result in your symptoms.
Can Crohn's Disease Be Cured With Surgery?While Crohn’s surgery cannot cure the disease, it can improve your quality of life as long as you take the proper steps to minimize further complications, such as taking the medication prescribed by your doctor.
Crohn's DiseaseCrohn's disease is a chronic inflammatory disease, primarily involving the small and large intestine, but which can affect other parts of the digestive system as well. Abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, fever, and weight loss are common symptoms.
Crohn's Disease QuizWhat causes Crohn's disease? What are the symptoms of Crohn's disease? How is Crohn's treated? Take this quiz to get the facts about Crohn's.
Crohn's Disease vs. Ulcerative Colitis (UC)Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis are diseases that cause inflammation of part of or the entire digestive tract (GI). Crohn's affects the entire GI tract (from the mouth to the anus), while ulcerative colitis or ulcerative colitis only affects the large and small intestine and ilium. Researchers do not know the exact cause of either disease. About 20% of people with Crohn's disease also have a family member with the disease. Researchers believe that certain factors may play a role in causing UC. Both Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis are a type of inflammatory bowel disease, or IBD.
Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis both have similar symptoms and signs, for example, nausea, loss of appetite, fatigue, weight loss, episodic and/or persistent diarrhea, fever, abdominal pain and cramping, rectal bleeding, bloody stools, joint pain and soreness, eye redness, or pain. Symptoms unique to Crohn’s disease include anemia and skin changes. Symptoms of unique to ulcerative colitis include, certain rashes, an urgency to defecate (have a bowel movement). Doctors diagnose both diseases with similar tests and procedures. While there is no cure for either disease, doctors and other health care professionals can help you treat disease flares, and manage your Crohn's or ulcerative colitis with medication, diet, nutritional supplements, and/or surgery.
How Serious Is Crohn’s Disease?Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory condition that causes inflammation in the gut (the digestive tract) and belongs to a group of conditions known as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
Is Crohn's Disease Contagious?Crohn's disease, a form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and is characterized by symptoms and signs that include diarrhea, fever, weight loss, vomiting, and abdominal pain. Though Crohn's disease is not contagious it can spread throughout a person's gastrointestinal tract. An increase in the above symptoms and signs warrants a visit to a doctor's office.
Is Crohn's Disease Related to Rheumatoid Arthritis?Since Crohn’s disease causes inflammation of the body, including the joints, sufferers are at a greater risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis.
Is Crohn’s Disease a Disability?Crohn’s disease can be debilitating, negatively affecting the digestive system and hampering the ability to eat or have normal bowel movements. It therefore qualifies as a disability under the ADA.
What Is the Life Expectancy of Someone with Crohn's Disease?Crohn’s disease is a chronic condition that causes inflammation in the gut (digestive tract).Crohn’s disease belongs to a group of conditions known as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). With appropriate management, patients with Crohn’s disease may expect a normal life expectancy and a good quality of life.
What Does a Crohn’s Disease Attack Feel Like?Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease featuring chronic inflammation of the inner of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Patients experience periods of symptomatic relapse and remission. What initiates the autoimmune reaction in Crohn’s disease is unclear, but genetic and environmental factors play roles. Crohn’s disease is a lifelong, progressive disease with no cure.
What Are the Five Types of Crohn's Disease?The five types of Crohn's disease are ileocolitis, ileitis, gastroduodenal Crohn’s disease, jejunoileitis, Crohn's (granulomatous) colitis. Each have different characteristic symptoms and signs.
What Happens if Crohn’s Is Left Untreated?Crohn's disease worsens without treatment. When left untreated, Crohn's spreads throughout the intestinal tract, causing severe symptoms and a bleaker outlook to treatment. Colon cancer is more likely to develop in people with untreated Crohn’s in their large intestine.