Skip to main content

Crohn’s Disease Symptoms

Typical Crohn’s disease symptoms include:

  • frequent, watery diarrhoea
  • sense of urgency to have a bowel movement
  • crampy abdominal pain
  • a feeling of ‘blockage’
  • fever during active stages of disease
  • rectal bleeding (if the colon is involved)
  • loss of appetite
  • tiredness and fatigue
  • weight loss.

The signs and symptoms of Crohn’s disease can vary considerably among those who have the condition, depending on the location and severity of the inflammation within the GI tract. For example, if a narrowing (stricture) occurs in the intestinal wall at the site of the inflammation—especially in the upper parts of the GI tract—there could be nausea, vomiting, bloating, and constipation. Crohn’s disease in the colon can mimic the effects of ulcerative colitis, often making it difficult to differentiate between the two conditions.

People with Crohn’s disease often feel tired and are easily fatigued. Inflammation in the small intestine can impair the digestion and absorption of essential nutrients from food, which adds to the tiredness and fatigue. This is often complicated by the fact that, during active stages of the disease, many people try to avoid eating in order to prevent their symptoms from worsening, perhaps not realising that inadequate intake of food and fluids can cause sudden and severe dehydration and, over time, lead to malnutrition. This is an important consideration for anyone with Crohn’s disease, especially the children and adolescents who might experience delayed growth or pubertal development as a result. For this reason, a dietitian or nutritionist is an important member of the clinical team, especially for children and young people with Crohn’s disease.

In addition to symptoms related to the GI tract, Crohn’s disease can also cause symptoms in other parts of the body. These include:

  • red itchy eyes
  • sores in the mouth
  • swollen and painful joints
  • bumps or lesions on the skin
  • thinning of the bones (osteoporosis)
  • kidney stones
  • (rarely) hepatitis or cirrhosis of the liver.

Another common feature of Crohn’s disease is inflammation around the anus. This may take the form of abscesses (sacs filled with fluid, bacteria, and pus), fissures (ulcerated cracks) or fistulae (channels leading from the intestine to other body organs). A narrowing of the intestinal wall can result from the swelling and inflammation during active disease, as well as from the formation of scar tissue (fibrotic strictures) following prolonged inflammation. A combination of some, or all of these symptoms can help your doctor make a Crohn’s disease diagnosis. 

Additional Information:

The latest news and Research

News

Common mistakes that can make ulcerative colitis worse

Posted: October 22 2019

When you experience an ulcerative colitis flare, it’s easy to assign blame, be it on last night’s spicy dinner or on that extra-large coffee. In actuality, flares are unpredictable — there are no proven triggers or foolproof ways to prevent them. The most important thing to do if you have ulcerative colitis? “Take your medications as prescribed […]

Read more

News

Healthiest gut bacteria with plant-based or Mediterranean diet

Posted: October 21 2019

The study included four different groups of people: the population at large; people suffering from the chronic intestinal inflammatory disorder called Crohn’s disease; people with another similar gut disorder called ulcerative colitis; and people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). This helped them describe the individual’s microbial pattern. This was then correlated with the results of […]

Read more

News

Fetal gut has more well-developed immune capabilities than previously thought

Posted: October 17 2019

Liza Konnikova and her colleagues applied advanced cellular and genomic analyses to study the makeup of the immune system in gut tissues from 14- to 23-week-old fetuses and infants undergoing surgery to correct gut defects. “We were surprised to find that almost complete immune capacity in the gut had developed as early as 14 weeks, […]

Read more

Personal Story

Raising awareness of Crohn’s disease

Posted: October 17 2019

I recently met a mum who wanted to share her story with me. As I sat opposite her in the coffee shop I could feel her pain, even though she was smiling and had a twinkle in her eye. As well as feeling her pain, I could feel her passion too. She was telling me […]

Read more

Personal Story

Boy raises money to give young Crohn’s sufferers a less painful option

Posted: October 17 2019

Every six months, Cohen Martyniuk braces himself for a three-day ritual of pain that comes before he gets a colonoscopy to check on his Crohn’s disease. “I have to stay home, because what they do is give you a laxative and you basically go to the washroom and you sit there all day, and it’s […]

Read more

News

Health Benefits of Practicing Gratitude According to Science

Posted: October 15 2019

The health benefits of expressing gratitude are many, and some might surprise you. Scholars, spiritual leaders, and scientist throughout history have deliberated on gratitude. More recently, the scientifically-validated benefits of gratitude are better understood. Regardless of who you are, or the circumstances of your life, the health benefits of gratitude are undeniable. There are numerous gratitude […]

Read more