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Crohns Disease Symptoms

Updated on May 8, 2011

What is Crohn's Disease?

Crohn's Disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease that causes inflammation of the digestive tract. It can affect any area of the gastrointestinal tract from mouth to anus, but it most commonly affects the lower part of the small intestine, called the ileum.

An estimated 500,000 Americans suffer from Crohn's disease. It affects men and women equally and seems to run in some families. About 20% of people diagnosed with Crohns disease have a blood relative with some form of inflammatory bowel disease, most often a brother or sister and sometimes a parent or child.

Crohn's disease is not contagious and can occur in people of all age groups, but it is more often diagnosed in people between the ages of 20 and 30.

Endoscopy image of colon showing serpiginous ulcer, a classic finding in Crohn's disease
Endoscopy image of colon showing serpiginous ulcer, a classic finding in Crohn's disease

Crohn's Disease symptoms

The most common presenting features of Crohn's Disease are chronic diarrhea, which may, or may not, be bloody, abdominal pain, often in the lower right area, and fever. Some may also complain of loss of appetite and fatigue.

The main symptoms include:

  • Abdominal pain and cramping
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Fever

There may also be other extraintestinal symptoms that usually become more common as the disease progresses. These symptoms can vary widely among individuals:

  • Arthritis
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Eye inflammation
  • Skin problems
  • Night sweats
  • Anemia
  • Hemorrhoids

Crohn's disease can also cause some neurological complications (reportedly in up to 15% of patients). The most common of these are seizures, stroke, myopathy, peripheral neuropathy, headache and depression.

Many people with Crohn's disease have symptoms for years prior to the diagnosis. The usual onset is between 15 and 30 years of age, with no difference between men and women. The condition may go undiagnosed for years because symptoms usually develop gradually.

Depending on the severity of Crohns Disease symptoms, there are several treatment options available including prescription medications and nutritional supplements. The objective of the treatment is to correct nutritional deficiencies, control inflammation, and relieve crohns disease symptoms like diarrhea, abdominal pain, and rectal bleeding. Treatment may also include surgery.

Since there is no cure for Crohn's disease, the primary goals of treatment are to:

  • induce remissions
  • maintain remissions
  • improve the quality of life


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    • gettingitdone profile image

      gettingitdone 5 years ago from Anytown USA

      Thank you for this information, this is so helpful!

    • profile image

      Becky 7 years ago

      I have Crohn's disease and have been managing it for 2 years with no immune suppressing medications. It is caused by the normal protective layer of beneficial bacteria being killed off by antibiotics, too much sugar, etc... The way to grow it back is by taking soluble fiber supplements or eat beans(high in soluble fiber) Soluble fiber is not rough or damaging like in-soluble fiber. When normal bacteria are not present, damaging bacteria take hold and cause damage to intestinal lining. Mycobacterium cause serpiginous ulcers, a classic finding in Crohn's as stated in this article. If beneficial bacteria were in sufficient numbers, mycobacterium would not be able to get a foot hold. Beneficial bacteria are first built up in intestine during breastfeeding, by the soluble fiber in breast milk called galacto-oligosaccharide. Why don't doctors tell us this?

    • Walkster profile image

      Walkster 7 years ago from Lavergne,tn

      Good information! Read my article Feel Good Again! A medical Dr. in Jackson,Tn has had success treating Crohn's with a tea he created!

    • websurfpro profile image

      websurfpro 10 years ago

      I have been dealing with this disease for 5 years now. I had a surgery in 2003 when they removed 35 cm of my small intestine. Till then I have never had any symptoms , actually I have never been ill . I am currently on medicine and diet , To all Crohnies eat healthy , and avoid stress as much as possible.