Generally, discussions about bowel movements are considered taboo in a lot of cultures owing to our associated mentality with the topic. We have sympathy for people who complain of irritable bowels, but we mostly tend to ignore this bodily symptom unlike other serious ailments such as fever or muscular cramps. Bowel issues are usually reserved for trash talking each other in a relaxed setting between people we usually know closest. However, ignoring these conditions for a long time can be fatal. Crohn’s disease symptoms consist of abnormal bowel conditions along with the inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, which is difficult to find out immediately.
Crohn’s disease is a type of inflammatory bowel condition that usually occurs at the end of the intestine, though it can affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract between the mouth and the anus. It may also extend over the entire bowel wall, causing perforations in the bowel wall over a period of time. It is usually seen in people between 15 to 40 years of age and is most common in Jews of European descent. It has no known causes, but researchers have stressed that it may be due to the presence of certain genetic triggers within people who are aggravated due to an imbalanced immune system. About 700,000 people have been affected by this disease in the USA alone.
Crohn’s disease symptoms may be severe for some and not so severe for many. However, it can also happen very suddenly without any sort of prior symptoms. A lot of people carry this disease without any kind of persisting symptoms for a lifetime. The treatment involves extensive check-ups. There is no known cure for this disease. It is a chronic condition that can last for years or an entire lifetime.
There are some pointers through which this disease can be identified.
- Diarrhea or constipation
Abnormal bowel movement is the stepping stone in identifying this disease. Usually, inflammation of tissues in the gastrointestinal tract and intestinal cramping contribute to diarrhea. Some people, however, will have constipation instead of diarrhea, depending on which area of the gastrointestinal tract has been affected. It is so painful that the person suffering may avoid eating altogether.
- Fever and fatigue
Due to irregular bowel movements, people with Crohn’s disease symptoms may have intense fatigue and lethargy that are manifested in equal proportions by a low-grade fever that is usually caused due to inflammation or infection.
- Reduced appetite and weight loss
People suffering from Crohn’s disease symptoms usually have a reduced appetite due to the stress caused by digestion of food. Abdominal pain and cramping affect the bowel lining, which in turn affects the body’s capacity to absorb food. Sometimes, if the disease is severe, the bowel will be perforated, which can be life threatening. Reduced appetite will contribute to a loss of weight.
Crohn’s disease not only causes inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, but also eyes, skin, joints, bile ducts, and liver. It may also lead to gall and kidney stones as a side effect.
- Abdominal pain and cramping
Inflammation and ulcers in any part of the digestive system may cause uncomfortable bowel movements as well as lead to pain and cramping. It may be mild and cause a little discomfort or severe pain; it also includes nausea and vomiting.
- Rectal bleeding
You may also notice blood in your stool. This bleeding can happen at any point in one or more areas of the gastrointestinal tract. Chances are that you may not even know that you are bleeding in your stools. It can be diagnosed with a simple stool test by doctors for what is called as “occult blood.”
- Perianal diseases
It is possible to have intense pain and drainage in and around the anus due to inflammation of the anus, which is also known as a fistula.
- Delayed sexual development
Children who are suffering from this disease may display delayed sexual development as compared to their peers due to a malfunctioning immune and hormonal system.
- Non-responsiveness to medication
Usually, people suffering from Crohn’s disease will not respond to over-the-counter medication for fever and diarrhea. If symptoms continue to persist, it is recommended that you consult a doctor for further investigation.
These are a range of factors that indicate one or the other Crohn’s disease symptoms. These symptoms are not finite and require expert consultation. It can be painful and life threatening, but timely diagnosis and careful mapping can help those suffering from it to lead normal lives too. There will be dietary and lifestyle changes that will help lessen effects of this condition, but it is completely manageable. Some people have long periods of remission when they are free of pain and symptoms, though relapses are quite possible.