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Crohn's DiseaseCrohn's Disease Symptoms

Let's Talk About the Symptoms of Crohn's Disease

Wondering if your disgruntled gut could be a sign of something more serious? Here's how to tell if it's time to see a doc.

    Our Pro PanelCrohn's Disease

    We went to some of the nation's top Crohn's experts to bring you the most scientific and up-to-date information possible.

    Jami Kinnucan, M.D.

    Jami Kinnucan, M.D.Gastroenterologist, IBD Specialist, and Assistant Professor of Medicine

    University of Michigan School of Medicine
    Ann Arbor, MI
    Neilanjan Nandi

    Neilanjan Nandi, M.D.Director of the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center

    Drexel University School of Medicine
    Philadelphia
    Frank I. Scott, M.D.

    Frank I. Scott, M.D.Gastroenterologist, IBD Specialist, and Assistant Professor of Medicine and Gastroenterology

    University of Colorado School of Medicine
    Aurora, CO

    Frequently Asked QuestionsCrohn's Disease Symptoms

    I’ve been having issues with diarrhea. Could it be Crohn’s?

    Diarrhea is one symptom of Crohn’s, and it typically occurs during a flare. It is often accompanied by other symptoms, including stomach pain, rectal bleeding, an urgent need to poop, heartburn, and difficulty swallowing. If you’re concerned, it’s always best to see your doctor.

    How can I ease a flare?

    Thanks to new treatments, many people can go for several years without experiencing a flare. When a flare does occur, try coping strategies such as avoiding spicy and fatty foods, practicing stress-relieving techniques, managing fatigue, and putting together an emergency kit in case you have an accident while you are away from home.

    Am I going to be able to keep working?

    In many cases, yes. People with Crohn’s disease often experience long periods—from months to years—when they have mild symptoms to none at all. Going to work during a flare can be challenging so talk to your employer about your symptoms. If bathroom access is an issue, try negotiating some work-at-home time, or utilize the Family and Medical Leave Act for more extended time off.

    When should I seek medical help?

    After you’ve been diagnosed, you should contact your doctor at the first signs of a flare, which may include abdominal pain, diarrhea, night sweats, difficulty sleeping, and unexplained fever. Head to the ER if you experience severe abdominal pain for more than an hour, significant rectal bleeding, persistent vomiting and the stopping of bowel movements, or a high temperature.

    Stephanie Wood

    Stephanie Wood

    Stephanie Wood is a award-winning freelance writer and former magazine editor specializing in health, nutrition, wellness, and parenting.