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What are the Symptoms of Crohn's Disease?

Crohn's disease can lead to malnutrition in a number of ways.
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  • Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 15 October 2014
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Crohn's disease is a condition that inflames the bowel. It is sometimes called inflammatory colitis, or ulcerative colitis. It tends to make its first appearance in people from 16-21 years old, though some children may also show early symptoms of Crohn's disease. As the disease progresses, numerous symptoms emerge. The primary symptom is deterioration and death of the bowel tissue, often necessitating surgery to resect the bowel.

People may notice pain in the bowel region, and production of mucus, bloody or pus filled stools. Generally these symptoms indicate that Crohn's disease is affecting the small intestine. Areas of diseased bowel may be present and may alternate with healthy areas of the bowel. Severe enough disease indicates surgery to remove the diseased tissue.

Crohn's disease can go into remission for periods of time. People may be symptom free for a while, and then again begin to experience deterioration of bowel tissue. Medication may help prolong remission periods but ultimately cannot guarantee that a relapse of the Crohn's disease will not happen. Virtually all people with Crohn's disease face at least one surgery, and many have multiple surgeries to address the disease throughout their lifetimes.

When Crohn's disease is active, one may also note some less common symptoms. The skin around the anus can become inflamed, irritated, and be prone to developing hemorrhoids. Further, people may develop skin tags around the anus that are red to blue or purple in color. These can cause irritation and discomfort.

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Many people with Crohn's disease also seem more prone to allergies to foods and pollens, and may also have asthma. Before Crohn's disease is active, people who are affected may have a history of mouth lesions, arthritis, and eye infections. Further, they may show slight clubbing of the fingers, which makes the tips of the fingers appear disproportionately larger than the finger size.

Blood testing may also show that the liver does not function in quite the same way as those without Crohn's disease. Further, many have a lower immune response to common viruses. They are more susceptible to infection because of their suppressed immune system. Those with Crohn's disease are also more likely to develop cancer in the bowels, a relatively uncommon cancer for those without the condition.

Some studies suggest that surgery can actually exacerbate and cause a more complicated course of Crohn’s disease. Many find that they actually experience worse symptoms after their first bowel surgery. It is difficult to say whether this is because the disease itself is worsening, necessitating surgery, or if the surgery itself complicates the disease.

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theknot
Post 4

I have Crohn's and started experiencing a rash on my chest and face. I found out it is like Crohn's -- 'no cure.' The rash has a name: Seborrheic Dermatitis. See your dermatologist.

burcidi
Post 3

The major symptoms I have is stomach pain, constipation and bloating. I get a lot of pain after meals for some reason and no matter what I eat, I'm always bloated. It's so frustrating.

I've also started getting hemorrhoids more often since my Crohn's disease diagnosis. The problem is that fiber makes my bloating and pain worse. But if I don't get enough fiber, then I suffer from constipation which leads to hemorrhoids. It's like a vicious cycle.

I have an appointment with my doctor next week. He's probably going to put me on new medicines. I hope they help relieve some of my symptoms if not all.

ysmina
Post 2

@anamur-- Yes, it's possible. Crohn's syndrome increases allergies. So if you ate something that you're allergic to, you might have developed a rash from it.

It also happened to me once when I ate some candy I hadn't tried before. Even if it isn't allergies, Crohn's can cause sensitivity to certain foods which could trigger things like rashes.

You can try using a topical cream for the rash but try to figure out which food you're reacting to so you can avoid it. It's also a good idea to have an allergy test done.

serenesurface
Post 1

Is rash a Crohn's disease symptom?

I've had Crohn's for five years now and have had several flares of symptoms during this time. But it's the first time I'm experiencing a rash. The rash is mainly on my chest and neck, and slightly on my face.

I'm not sure if it's Crohn's related but I can't find any other possible cause. I'm in a flare right now so it would make sense for it to be due to Crohn's disease.

Has anyone experienced rashes with Crohn's before? What did you do to treat it? Did it disappear when the flare was over? Please help!

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