Understanding the Symptoms of Crohn’s Disease

crohn's abdomenThe cause of Crohn’s disease—a disease that affects the gastrointestinal tract—is still unknown; however, most medical experts believe that the onset of this disease may be due to the combination of three factors, namely, immune, environmental, and bacterial factors. Since its real cause is still unknown, the exact cure for this disease is elusive likewise. Moreover, the medications and surgeries performed on patients with symptoms of Crohn’s disease are only meant to assuage symptoms, maintain remission, and prevent the occurrence of relapse.

The Symptoms and Complications of Crohn’s Disease

Crohn’s disease, as a primary inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is characterized by the following common symptoms: frequent and recurring diarrhea, fever, rectal bleeding, unexplained weight loss, abdominal cramping and pain, feeling enervated and fatigued, and lack of appetite. Crohn’s disease symptoms may range from being mild to severe. Crohn’s disease may also produce complications outside of the gastrointestinal tract (GI). These complications may include skin rashes, arthritis, eye inflammation, and anemia. Moreover, patients with Crohn’s disease are susceptible of developing colon cancer.

The Progressive Nature of This Disease

Crohn’s disease usually affects the entire gastrointestinal tract including those of the mouth and the anus. The symptoms of this disease likewise can progressively get worse over time if not properly treated. Hence, if you have this disease, it is critical that you undergo a thorough checkup of your gastrointestinal tract and maintain an honest consultation with your physician regarding your symptoms. After a thorough diagnosis of the extent of the disease, your physician can readily figure out whether you got a mild, moderate to severe, or very severe symptoms of this disease.

Mild symptoms of the disease include frequent diarrhea and abdominal pain with no fever. On the other hand, moderate to severe stage of this disease is characterized by frequent diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, significant weight loss, anemia and fatigue with dizziness, shortness of breath, and headache. Cases of very severe stage of Crohn’s disease include high fever, constant vomiting, signs of intestinal obstruction with persistent pain, and severe weight loss.

Location of Crohn’s Disease

The exact location of Crohn’s disease within the GI tract determines the type of Crohn’s disease. If it particularly affects the end of the small intestine (ileum) and the large intestine, it is called ileocolitis and has symptoms like weight loss, diarrhea, pain and cramping along the right lower abdomen. If it occurs in the ileum, it is referred to as ileitis with symptoms of weight loss, pain in the right lower and middle abdomen, and diarrhea. If it is located in both the jejunum and ileum, it is called jejunoileitis with symptoms of diarrhea, cramps after meals, and abdominal pain. If it occurs in the stomach and duodenum, then it is called gastroduodenal Crohn’s disease with symptoms of loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, and weight loss. Lastly, if it situated in the colon, it is referred to as Crohn’s colitis with characteristic symptoms of rectal bleeding, diarrhea, and abscess, ulcers, and fistulas around the anus.