10 Crohn’s Disease Symptoms, From Diarrhea to Beyond

“Crohn’s disease may attack different portions of the gastrointestinal tract and thus cause different problems in different people,” Jessica Philpott, M.D., Ph.D., a gastroenterologist who specializes in treating inflammatory bowel disease at the Cleveland Clinic, tells SELF. In general, though, people with Crohn’s disease will experience some of the following symptoms:

1. Diarrhea

Sure, pretty much everyone has diarrhea from time to time. However, if you have Crohn’s disease, you might experience it on a much more severe level, Ashkan Farhadi, M.D., a gastroenterologist at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center and director of MemorialCare Medical Group’s Digestive Disease Project in Fountain Valley, California, tells SELF. Though it can vary, during flares people with Crohn’s disease might have diarrhea lasting anywhere from a few days to a few months, Dr. Farhadi says.

The diarrhea happens because of the gut inflammation inherent to Crohn’s, Dr. Farhadi says. Even though Crohn’s can impact any part of your digestive system, it typically affects the last part of the small intestine (where most of the digestive process happens) and the colon (the longest part of the large intestine, which moves stool so it can exit your body), according to the Mayo Clinic. It makes perfect, painful sense that when these parts of your digestive tract are irritated, they can’t do their jobs properly—and you can get some pretty nasty diarrhea as a result. What’s more, that Crohn’s-induced inflammation can also cause the affected parts of your digestive tract to become hyperactive and spasm too much, Dr. Philpott says, which can force food to move through your system far too quickly, resulting in those really loose, watery stools.

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