Crohn's disease is a potentially serious inflammatory bowel disease which affects the gastrointestinal tract. It may affect any organ involved in gastric processes all the way from the mouth to the anus. Crohn's often also provokes health issues beyond the gastrointestinal tract and heightens the risk of bowel cancer in individuals. Unfortunately, you can't cure Crohn's disease, though treatment does help control symptoms, maintain remission and prevent relapses. Early detection is crucial in achieving this. Thus, anyone who has the following symptoms should visit a doctor for a diagnosis.
The majority of people with Crohn's disease tend to have persistent diarrhea. They feel the urge to pass stool several times a day, though it may or may not be watery in consistency, depending upon which part of the small intestine or colon is inflamed. In severe cases, patients may visit the washroom as often as 20 times a day and even wake up from sleep to relieve themselves. Some may also experience the sensation of incomplete evacuation. In a few cases, the stool may be bloody too, in which case you should see a doctor at your earliest convenience.
People with Crohn's disease tend to feel recurrent bouts of abdominal ache and cramping. For many patients, this may be the only symptom to occur for a long while, and the disease may go undetected on account of the abdominal discomfort not being taken too seriously. You usually feel this pain in the upper abdominal region, and bloating and flatulence accompany it. In some instances, the pain may be debilitating to the extent that you can't carry out daily activities. If this is the case, seek out professional medical care.
Crohn's disease is closely linked to a wide range of rectal discomforts, which if present, are usually the main provocation that leads patients to doctors. Most commonly, you will feel a perianal discomfort which includes itchiness and pain around the anus. This may be caused by inflammation, fistulization or the presence of abscesses (puss-filled irruptions) in the rectal region. Many patients also have skin tags in and around the anus, and excretion is likely to be painful and bloody in such cases. In some rare cases, patients may lose control over bowel movements and defecation, such that gas, mucous and solid feces may be released at any time.
Those with Crohn's disease tend to lose weight since a variety of factors are conducive to the same. First and foremost, persistent diarrhea diminishes nutrient absorption; the body then uses fat reserves to meet bodily requirements, thus causing the scales to tip. Also, abdominal pain and discomforts tend to incite lack of appetite in many individuals; with lowering of calorie intake, weight loss naturally occurs. Also, in more severe cases of Crohn's disease, your body may release hunger-suppressing hormones because it's under stress. It is noteworthy, however, that unintended weight loss is prevalent in more advanced stages of Crohn's disease when it is left untreated for a long while.
Most patients who have Crohn's disease complain of being victim to extreme fatigue that interferes with daily functioning and activity. They report feeling lethargic and tired, often after hours of rest. Physical exertion also becomes hugely draining, and fatigue-related behavioral tendencies such as irritability and lack of concentration are common. The enduring fatigue and weakness that Crohn's diseases causes can be attributed to three things. Firstly, the immune system and other organs work overtime to maintain routine bodily process which leads to exhaustion. Secondly, anemia is a systemic byproduct of this condition which further depletes energy reserves. Lastly, Crohn's disease is known to cause depression, anxiety, and insomnia, all of which are conditions associated with fatigue.
In some cases, experts have found Crohn's disease to affect organ systems other than those of gastric significance. It may also affect the joints, causing arthritis and osteoporosis. Neurological complications have also been observed in some patients. Additionally, Crohn's disease makes individuals more vulnerable to strokes, seizures, peripheral neuropathy, myopathy, and headaches. There are many other possible extraintestinal health issues that this disease may rouse, which produce varied symptoms as well. However, if you treat them on time, you can significantly reduce your risk of extraintestinal conditions.
A person diagnosed with Crohn's disease has a greater chance of getting seronegative spondyloarthropathy. The condition is quite similar to that of rheumatoid arthritis as far as the symptoms are concerned. It mainly affects the skeleton. Inflammation of the skeleton can also cause pain in large joints, like hips, shoulders, and areas surrounding the knees. One can also experience pain in the small joints of their feet as well as hands.
Pain in the eyes usually accompanies Crohn's disease. If left untreated, these vision problems can result in permanent damaging results, such as permanent blindness. A condition known as episcleritis damages the white portion of the eye. This can cause uveitis or sclera, eye-related conditions which cause eye aches and blurry vision. Inflammation causes both of these diseases. This is why Crohn's disease can lead to loss of vision as well as swelling in the eye.
Crohn's disease affects the ending part of the small intestine. The primary function of this organ is to absorb the bile salts as well as the vitamin B12. However, with Crohn's disease, the bile salts get excreted instead of getting absorbed. Because of this, the gallbladder has an uneven ratio of bile to cholesterol, which further results in distress and gradually gallstones. Gallstone attacks are excruciating and quite similar to the signs of a heart attack.
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