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4 Early Signs of Crohn's Disease

4 Early Signs of Crohn's Disease

An estimated 3.1 million Americans live with Crohn’s disease, an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that causes chronic inflammation in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. For some, Crohn’s disease can become debilitating and increase the risk for potentially life-threatening complications if not caught in the early stages.

At Gastro Center of Maryland, we offer on-site technologies to accurately diagnose IBD-related conditions like Crohn’s disease and colitis.

Our board-certified gastroenterologists customize a care plan to relieve existing symptoms of Crohn’s disease and prevent damage in your GI tract. They also offer ongoing management services to prevent ulcers, bowel obstructions, colon cancer, and other serious complications.

What to know about Crohn’s disease

Crohn’s disease causes chronic inflammation in the tissues of your digestive tract, specifically the small or large intestines. The condition can also cause symptoms that affect other areas of the body, including the skin, eyes, and joints.

While the root cause of Crohn’s disease isn’t fully understood, there are known factors that contribute to chronic inflammation, including:

Immune system dysfunction

Your immune system is responsible for fighting off foreign substances in the body that can cause illness. An abnormal immune response can mistakenly attack otherwise healthy digestive tract tissues.

Genetic components

Crohn’s disease also appears to be more common in those who have a family history of the condition. This could mean that your genetic makeup may also contribute to chronic intestinal inflammation.

Because Crohn’s disease can ultimately cause permanent damage to your digestive tract, it’s important that you know how to identify early warning signs, so you can get a prompt diagnosis.

4 early warning signs of Crohn’s disease

Crohn’s disease primarily causes issues that affect your digestive health. However, the disease can also cause symptoms that are easily dismissed as a cold or other minor illness.

Here are four subtle signs of Crohn’s disease to watch for:

1. Abdominal pain

Abdominal pain and cramping are hallmark symptoms of Crohn’s disease. As the condition progresses, your pain can worsen and may eventually interfere with your quality of life.

The discomfort and pain of Crohn’s disease is most often felt in the lower right side of your belly.

2. Bloating

Bloating is a common side effect of inflammation. Your stomach may feel full long after you’ve eaten, and you might have a noticeable decrease in your appetite.

You might also experience bloating when gas becomes trapped in your intestines, and this can lead to a frequent need to pass gas.

3. Diarrhea

Bouts of diarrhea are a common warning sign of Crohn’s disease. Those with the condition may experience frequent urges to use the bathroom to eliminate loose stools.

 While diarrhea can occur for a variety of generally harmless reasons, you should schedule a diagnostic evaluation with our team if your diarrhea becomes chronic or severe.

4. Persistent fatigue

The energy your immune system expends to fight off illness takes a toll on your body. For those with Crohn’s disease, persistent tiredness and fatigue can be early signs of chronically inflamed digestive tissues.

Additionally, as Crohn’s disease worsens, your digestive tract may not be able to absorb enough nutrients to generate energy. This can leave you persistently worn out or run down.

These symptoms are manageable with lifestyle changes and diet modifications. Our team can also prescribe medications to reduce inflammation in your digestive tract.

Call the Gastro Center of Maryland office near you today to learn more about the symptoms of Crohn’s disease or book a diagnostic evaluation online. 

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