Signs and Symptoms of Crohn’s Disease

Crohn’s disease can affect each patient a little differently. We are here to help guide you through the most common signs and symptoms of Crohn’s disease. The symptoms you or your loved one may experience depends on which part of the GI tract is affected.


Crohn’s is a chronic disease, which means patients will likely experience periods when symptoms are active, known as flares, followed by periods of remission when you may not notice any symptoms at all.

While it is important to recognize the signs of Crohn’s disease, only a doctor can confirm a diagnosis. If you suspect you may have  inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), please schedule an appointment with your doctor to work toward a diagnosis and treatment plan.
 

GI Tract Inflammation

Crohn’s disease can affect any part of the GI tract, from your mouth to your anus. While symptoms vary from patient to patient, there are some common symptoms of inflammation of the GI tract caused by Crohn’s disease.

  • Persistent diarrhea

  • Rectal bleeding

  • Urgent need to move bowels

  • Abdominal cramps and pain

  • Sensation of incomplete bowel evacuation

  • Constipation, which can lead to bowel obstruction
     

Crohn’s Disease Complications

While Crohn’s disease is located in the GI tract, it can affect your overall health and cause more serious medical issues.

  • Loss of appetite

  • Weight loss

  • Low energy and fatigue

  • Delayed growth and development in children

In more severe cases, Crohn’s disease can lead to serious complications.

  • Fissures are tears in the lining of the anus, which can cause pain and bleeding especially during bowel movements.

  • A fistula, caused by inflammation, is an abnormal channel that forms between one part of the intestine and another, or between the intestine and the bladder, vagina, or skin. Fistulas are most common in the anal area and require immediate medical attention.

  • A stricture is a narrowing of the intestine as a result of chronic inflammation.
     

Symptoms Beyond the Intestine

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) can cause systemic symptoms outside the GI tract that affect your overall health and your quality of life.

  • Redness or pain in the eyes, or vision changes

  • Mouth sores

  • Swollen and painful joints

  • Skin complications, such as bumps, sores, or rashes

  • Fever

  • Loss of appetite

  • Weight Loss

  • Fatigue

  • Night sweats

  • Loss of normal menstrual cycle

  • Osteoporosis

  • Kidney stones

  • Rare liver complications, including primary sclerosing cholangitis and cirrhosis
     

Related Resources

Fact sheet

General Healthcare Maintenance...

A fact sheet on how overall wellness and screening can supplement your IBD care.

Fact sheet

IBD Factbook...

A factbook covering the basics of IBD and how patients can manage their disease.