Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Diagnosing Crohn's Disease - What are the Symtoms (for newbies :-)

I have had quite a few emails and comments regarding symtoms of Crohn's Disease. Here they are:

Signs and symptoms of Crohn's disease can range from mild to severe and may develop gradually or come on suddenly, without warning. They include:

Diarrhea. The inflammation that occurs in Chron's disease causes cells in the affected areas of your intestine to secrete large amounts of water and salt. Because the colon can't completely absorb this excess fluid, you develop diarrhea. Intensified intestinal cramping also can contribute to loose stools. In mild cases, stools may simply be looser or more frequent than usual. But people with severe disease may have dozens of bowel movements a day, affecting both sleep and ordinary activities.

Abdominal pain and cramping. Inflammation and ulceration may cause the walls of portions of your bowel to swell and eventually thicken with scar tissue. This affects the normal movement of intestinal tract contents through your digestive tract and may lead to pain and cramping. Mild Crohn's disease usually causes slight to moderate intestinal discomfort, but in more serious cases, the pain may be severe and occur with nausea and vomiting.
Blood in your stool. Food moving through your digestive tract can cause inflamed tissue to bleed, or your bowel may also bleed on its own. You might notice bright red blood in the toilet bowl or darker blood mixed with your stool. You can also have bleeding you don't see (occult blood). In severe disease, bleeding is often serious and ongoing.

Ulcers. Crohn's disease begins as small, scattered sores on the surface of the intestine. Eventually these sores may become large ulcers that penetrate deep into — and sometimes through — the intestinal walls. You may also have ulcers in your mouth similar to canker sores.
Reduced appetite and weight loss. Abdominal pain and cramping and the inflammatory reaction in the wall of your bowel can affect both your appetite and your ability to digest and absorb food.
Fistula or abscess. Inflammation from Crohn's disease may tunnel through the wall of the bowel into adjacent organs, such as the bladder or vagina, creating an abnormal connection called a fistula. This can also lead to an abscess, a swollen, pus-filled sore. The fistula may also tunnel out through your skin. A common place for this type of fistula is in the area around the anus. When this occurs, it's called perianal fistula.

Other signs and symptoms. People with severe Crohn's disease may experience fever and fatigue as well as problems that occur outside the digestive tract, including arthritis, eye inflammation, skin disorders, and inflammation of the liver or bile ducts. Children with Crohn's disease may have delayed growth or sexual development. The course of Crohn's disease varies greatly. You may have long periods without signs and symptoms, or you may have recurrent episodes of abdominal pain, diarrhea, and sometimes fever or bleeding.


RochesterJenny said...

You do a great job of keeping up with this site -- it's a great service. If anyone wants more on the symptoms and signs of Crohn's Disease (and causes, treatment options, etc.), Mayo Clinic has a Crohn's Disease article that covers this, too. Would be a nice complement to this blog. (I do some writing for Mayo Clinic, but am not connected to their blogs.) Keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

Just got diagnosed three days ago and just found your site :-)

Oddly, I didn't have any GI symptoms and only had fatigue and neuro symptoms and was seeing a neurologist who felt something odd in my belly.

After the ct scan they were telling me to be prepared for stage 3 colon cancer, the colonoscopy pics looked like cancer also so I was, ahem, thrilled to see the pathology report come back with "no malignancy".

Now I have to figure out what cryptitis and multinuclear giant cells are. Sounds Sci-Fi to me.

Anonymous said...

I'm a bit concerened that i may have crohens not sure though. I will be going through my 3rd surgery for a pernial fistuala next week. Doctors were attributing it to an epezitomi i had 3 years ago. As i started researching Chrones some simmularities are poping up. Is lower back pain, sometimes hip pain, finger pain symtomatic of chrones (my thumb is actually starting to bend funny) I have had xrays of my lower back and hands but everything looked normal. About 15 years ago i had some elevated tests of something that made them test me for Lupas wich was negative. This is stuff i did not discuss with my doctor because i didn't think they were related.

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