Symptoms of Crohn’s Disease
Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease that affects the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and creates chronic symptoms. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, then it is important that you pay your physician a visit to save you from any more pain and discomfort.
One of the most common symptoms of Crohn’s disease is diarrhea. Inflammation from Crohn’s causes cells in the intestine to secrete more salt and water than normal. Since not all of this liquid can be absorbed by the colon (the last portion of the digestive system), you develop diarrhea. Diarrhea refers to when you experience three or more liquid stools a day.
Abdominal pain and cramping are another common symptom of Crohn’s disease. This happens because ulceration and inflammation cause the walls of the GI tract to thicken. Then, food and other contents passing through the digestive system may result in pain and cramping. In milder cases of Crohn’s disease, abdominal pain has pangs of sharpness or long periods of cramping, while in more severe cases, abdominal pain may be coupled by vomiting and nausea.
Crohn’s disease is also characterized by bloody stool. When substances pass through the digestive tract, inflamed tissue may begin to bleed, leading to bloody diarrhea. Diarrhea varies from case to case, depending on which part of the digestive tract is affected. Problems with the ileum result in larger and more watery feces. Problems with the colon result in a more frequent passing of smaller-sized stools. Ulcers are another common symptom of this inflammatory bowel disease, and may eventually lead to bigger sores if not taken care of.
Other symptoms of Crohn’s disease include fever and fatigue, weight loss, and inflammation.
Fever’s increase in body temperature may bring about headaches and chills, but these can be treated with over the counter medication such as Ibuprofen and Asprin. Fatigue, or the feeling of extreme tiredness and decreased energy levels, may be treated through proper exercise, healthy amounts of sleep and a healthy diet. If sleep is a problem because of abdominal discomfort, then it may be worth it to ask your physician if you benefit from being prescribed sleeping pills to alleviate these symptoms.
Weight loss is another symptom of Crohn’s disease. You may find yourself eating less food or frequently experiencing a loss of appetite due to the effects Crohn’s has on your body. Meeting up with a dietician may be necessary in cases in which weight loss becomes more extreme.
Inflammation may affect nearly any part of the digestive tract. Inflammation of the subcutaneous tissue, the tissue under the skin, leads to erythema nodosum, or red nodules appearing on the shins. Inflammation leads to increased hepcidin levels which restricts the small intestine’s ability to absorb iron and can cause iron deficiency anemia. Iron deficiency anemia may lead to feelings of dizziness and tiredness. The jejunum of the small intestine may become inflamed as well, causing spotty patches to appear on the top half of the jejunum. And even eye inflammation may occur. Uveitis, or inflammation of the inner portion of the eye, causes eye pain, especially when you are exposed to bright lights. Inflammation may spread to your sclera (white portion of the human eye) as well, in a condition known as episcleritis.