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Signs You Have Crohn's Disease, Say Physicians

There's a difference from regular GI issues.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

Crohn's disease is a condition in which the digestive tract becomes inflamed. It has a range of symptoms which can be inconvenient and uncomfortable. "The symptoms of Crohn's disease can affect one or multiple parts of the small and large intestine that can range from mild to severe," says Mark Davis, MD, a physician with Pacific Analytics. "These symptoms vary from person to person, depending on the exact location of the inflammation." Read on to find out more about the signs of Crohn's disease—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.

1

Abdominal Pain

Unhealthy young woman with stomachache leaning on the bed at home.
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"Patients with Crohn's disease feel pain along with cramping in their lower right abdomen," says Davis. However, pain can occur anywhere in the digestive tract where inflammation exists. "Over time, this pain can get worse due to the scarring in the lining of the intestinal tract," he adds. "In some cases, severe stomach pain is the only sign of Crohn's disease that tends to be progressive with the passage of time." People affected by Crohn's may also experience nausea and vomiting.

2

Diarrhea

open the bathroom door, go to toilet
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"Diarrhea associated with Crohn's is very sudden and can make a person rush to the bathroom," says Davis. "If diarrhea lasts for several weeks, it may indicate one of the potential signs of Crohn's that doesn't get better because inflammation has taken place in the colon." 

The stool might be visibly bloody. 

3

Constipation

Suffering From Abdominal Pain Touching Aching Stomach Lying On Couch At Home
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"In some cases, one of the common symptoms of Crohn's is constipation and pain that can be felt while passing the stool," says Davis.

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4

Weight Loss, Fatigue or Fever

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"Due to poor digestive health, such as pain or diarrhea, people with Crohn's often avoid eating, which results in unhealthy weight loss," says Davis. "Fatigue and fever are common with Crohn's because of persistent inflammation."

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5

How Are These Symptoms Different From Normal GI Issues?

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"The symptoms of Crohn's disease can easily overlap with other normal GI issues," says Davis. "However, normal GI issues can get better within two to three days with home remedies or OTC medications, whereas symptoms linked with Crohn's don't get better even for several weeks, indicating a more serious condition."

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6

When to See a Doctor

 

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"One should immediately seek a doctor's help when observing changes in bowel habits for quite a long time accompanied by abdominal pain, bloody stool, severe diarrhea, nausea and fever that lasts for more than two days," says Davis.

"Bleeding in stools is never part of normal G.I. issues," says Alex Spinoso, MD, of Genesis Lifestyle Medicine in Las Vegas, Nevada. "Patients should seek a doctor's advice if they are having unexplained weight loss with uncontrollable diarrhea, significant abdominal tenderness or palpable abdominal masses, typically in the lower right quadrant."

And to ensure your health don't miss these 101 Health Habits You Didn't Know Were Deadly.

Michael Martin
Michael Martin is a New York City-based writer and editor whose health and lifestyle content has also been published on Beachbody and Openfit. A contributing writer for Eat This, Not That!, he has also been published in New York, Architectural Digest, Interview, and many others. Read more about Michael