Crohn’s disease is an inflammation of the digestive tract. It has a variety of symptoms, some of which can be unpleasant and inconvenient. “The symptoms of Crohn’s disease may manifest in various regions of the small and large intestines, ranging from mild to severe,” says Mark Davis, MD, a gastrointestinal specialist with Pacific Analytics. “These symptoms are experienced differently by each person, depending on where the inflammation occurs.”
“Patients with Crohn’s disease experience lower-right abdominal pain as well as cramping,” says Davis. Pain, however, can strike anywhere in the digestive system where inflammation exists. “This discomfort might get worse over time owing to scarring in the lining of the intestinal tract,” continues Davis. People who have Crohn’s disease may also suffer from nausea and vomiting.
“Crohn’s disease causes acute and severe diarrhea,” says Davis. “Diarrhea due to Crohn’s is usually very sudden and may lead a person to go to the restroom immediately. If diarrhea episodes continue for many weeks, it might be one of the possible symptoms of Crohn’s that does not improve owing to inflammation in the colon.” The stool may be visibly bloody.
“In some situations, one of the most typical symptoms of Crohn’s is constipation and discomfort while passing stool,” Davis adds.
Weight Loss, Fatigue or Fever
According to Dr. David E. Davis, a Crohn’s Disease researcher at the University of California San Francisco’s School of Medicine and a member of the American Gastroenterological Association, “People with Crohn’s disease frequently avoid eating as a result of poor digestive health, such as discomfort or diarrhea.” “Fatigue and fever are common with Crohn’s disease as a consequence of persistent inflammation.”
How Are These Symptoms Different From Normal GI Issues?
Because Crohn’s disease can mimic a variety of other gastrointestinal problems, it’s difficult to diagnose. “The symptoms of Crohn’s disease may frequently overlap with those of other typical GI disorders,” according to Davis. “Normal GI conditions, on the other hand, respond quickly and naturally in about two to three days with home treatments or over-the-counter medications, whereas signs associated with Crohn’s do not improve even after weeks.”
When to See a Doctor
“When signs of significant bowel changes for an extended length of time, accompanied by abdominal discomfort, bloody stool, severe diarrhea, nausea, and fever last more than two days, one should go to a physician immediately,” Davis adds.
“Bleeding in stools is never a symptom of normal G.I. disease,” states Genesis Lifestyle Medicine’s Alex Spinoso, MD, in Las Vegas, Nevada. “Patients should visit a physician if they are suffering from unexplained weight loss with uncontrollable diarrhea and significant abdominal discomfort or palpable abdominal masses typically in the lower right quadrant.”