Crohn's disease

The symptoms of Crohn's disease vary, depending on which part of the digestive system is inflamed.

The symptoms of Crohn's disease vary, depending on which part of the digestive system is inflamed.

Common symptoms include:

  • recurring diarrhoea
  • abdominal pain and cramping, which is usually worse after eating
  • extreme tiredness (fatigue)
  • unintended weight loss
  • blood and mucus in your faeces (stools)

You may experience all or only one of the above. Some people experience severe symptoms, but others only have mild problems.

There may be long periods, lasting for weeks or months, where you have very mild or no symptoms (known as remission), followed by periods where the symptoms are particularly troublesome (known as flare-ups or relapses).

Less common symptoms include:

  • a high temperature (fever) of 38C (100F) or above
  • feeling sick (nausea)
  • being sick (vomiting)
  • joint pain and swelling (arthritis)
  • inflammation and irritation of the eyes (uveitis)
  • areas of painful, red and swollen skin – most often the legs
  • mouth ulcers

Children with Crohn's disease may grow at a slower rate than expected, because the inflammation can prevent the body absorbing nutrients from food.

When to seek medical advice

You should contact your GP if you have:

  • persistent diarrhoea
  • persistent abdominal pain
  • unexplained weight loss
  • blood in your stools

You should also see your GP if you're concerned about your child's development.

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