Crohn's disease - Symptoms 

Symptoms of Crohn's disease 

The symptoms of Crohn's 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 find that you experience all or only one of the above. Some people experience severe symptoms, but others only have mild problems.

There may be long periods that last 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 38°C (100°F) 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 faeces (stools)

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

Page last reviewed: 20/05/2013

Next review due: 20/05/2015


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The 10 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

Lymiejane said on 15 July 2014

I have had many of the symptoms that the other commentators have posted and like all of you, have had numerous fruitless trips back and forth to gp's and consultants since 1998, all with no diagnosis, except IBS. Finally went private and discovered I have Lyme Disease. This is not investigated, looked for or even acknowledged on the NHS at all and I fully recommend that anyone reading this, at least looks up the symptoms of Lyme Disease, just in case any of your symptoms overlap. It is a horrific disease which doesn't cure itself and only gets worse, but the NHS will send you on a merry go round of consultants, rather than just test for this..millions have it and live lives of sheer misery. Please at least rule it out..privately, if you feel no better and are getting fobbed off repeatedly. Correct treatment may save your life, and at the very least, hopefully improve the quality of wishes.

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KarenW02 said on 02 July 2014

I suffered many of these symptoms for several years. GP was adamant it was IBS even though the medication didn't work, consultant put it down to having gall bladder removed a few years earlier and put me on cholestyramine which seemed to work for a short time but my GP said I shouldn't use them because of the side effects! Had tests for so many different things including cancer, everything was 'normal'. After years of enduring constant pain,awful heartburn, constant urgent diarrhoea and feeling like I didn't dare be away from a toilet and having now given up on getting any help from hospital, I started making a food diary. I soon realised that my problems were related to wheat/gluten. After only 2 weeks of eating gluten-free my pain was virtually gone! ! I reported my findings to my GP, I was tested for coeliac which came back negative. My GP simply said 'if you feel better without wheat then carry on without it'! I've been wheat & gluten-free for 8 months and only get the awful symptoms if I accidentally eat a wheat-containing product

I would urge anyone with symptoms like mine to try going
gluten-free for a month. It's not always easy, but I can honestly say it's changed my life.

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bumpy955 said on 08 June 2014

i have had all these symptoms for years, my doctor says its an unknown otherwise she doesnt know what it is. i also have severe cronic back pain so my stomach trouble has been put down to the amount of pain killers ive been taking. if i stzop eating for say a couple of weeks and empty my stomach and bowels then slowly star eating again, one meal a day my stool goes fairly normal for about ten minutes then goes back to very very loose like popping a cork from a bottle o fizzy wine. they have done blood tests and some have come back abnormal i have had colonoscopy and one down the troat and one into the blader they all came back normal but im still getting pain in my gut and iam very loose, when i need to go i really need to go fast. i am always tired but cant sleep at night i dont sleep during the day. there has been blood in my feacies and in my urine i have had two bad infections of the kidneys in the past two years. my back pain is caused by crushed bones in my back it was done at work but i was sacked because i was unfit to take the hgv medical this was in 2004 i have suffered cronic pain since then iam depressed and have been suicidal i have asked my doctor for euthanasia but was sent to a shrink. it really gets me down the watery stool causes my anus to sting and sometimes bleed my mouth has been known to get sore and ulcerated. i have lost weight, my pain goes round my body in a sort of cycle it could be in my legs for a couple of days and then it goes and comes back in my shoulders or arms the back to my legs i also bet sort of ulcers on my skin hands , arms and legs they start off with a little sore like a zit if left alone and not burst they go hard and get very itchy, i hav some around the back of me neck also the little sore look like chicken pox sore, i was really ill when a caught chicken pox many years ago i had to have an injection into my stomach to stop the pain....i am on heap of tablets but i just want to know what this is. a diagnosis

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bonehead74 said on 25 January 2014

just a side note they did take blood tests would they behave to diagnose crohn's with a blood test ?

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bonehead74 said on 25 January 2014

I have been suffering with these symptons for about two years now went to the doctors and they diagnosed ibs gave me buscopan they did nothing went back and they prescribed other ibs tablets which did nothing went about for times the doctors they just dont want to help just fob you off I am keeping it under control at the moment by eating one meal a day and taking organic India bowel care which seem to help a little or if I'm going out somewhere I take diarrhea tablets just feel let down by the nhs

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Rosie Lee said on 27 November 2013

I have similar symptoms to suggest I have Crohn's Disease but also feel as though I have to go to the toilet all the time and very painful abdomen. I am currently signed off work as my symptoms have got so bad that I can't work anymore. It has gotten to the point where I can't sit down anymore as it is so painful! Still having loads of tests and currently changing my diet to different things as suggested by my doctor but no luck. The doctor is puzzled to know what is wrong with me. Can anyone shed any light on this?

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bad7 said on 06 August 2013

I have had all of the above symptoms, for last 18mths, lost 15kg of weight in 3months, feel that I lose more than I can put on, complan finally giving me my vitamins&stop me from feeling like I'm dying standing,, still after biopsy's,, getting passed between consaultant &dietition&appointments being changed, I try &live as normal as I can,, people I know that have it or know some1 who has it are convinced I do,, this info has bn helpful &don't feel quite so alone with it,, but some help on foods would b helpful,, if anyone can help please,, till I finally get diagnosed please

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Jakayy33 said on 27 July 2013

Duaa99, l am interested in what you havd to say. Im always thinking that could these symptoms be.something else?

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duaa99 said on 28 April 2013

I have all the same symptoms that are relative to chrons disease however after a series of examinations i have not been diagnosed with it and i have an 'unknown' disease.

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khon said on 05 July 2012

My wife was recently diagnosed with crohns disease. Thank you for the all the info here.

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