It is important to remember first & foremost with any health worry to get it checked out. If you have something abnormal, the best thing to do is to seek medical advice. You know your own body better than most.
Some symptoms of Crohn’s Disease can also be symptoms of other things, from Ulcerative Colitis to intestinal blockages unrelated to chronic inflammation, so it is important to get the right medical diagnosis.
Not everyone’s Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) diagnosis is straight forward or quick, so generally the earlier you get something looked into the better. The tests and examinations to determine what it is and how to treat it can vary from different doctors & specialists, but there are some common tests known to be typically linked to managing IBD, which I will be writing about in my next post.
How can I tell the difference between an upset stomach & a chronic illness?
Many things can cause an upset stomach such as overindulgence, a virus, food intolerances and stress, to name a few. Typically, an upset stomach that is not down to anything more serious clears on its own within a few days without medical intervention such as a doctor’s visit. Listen to your body. If something seems abnormal for you then it is definitely a good idea to go to the doctor or at least speak to a doctor or medical professional over the phone.
Unlike a typical upset stomach, Crohn’s Disease is inflammation of the digestive tract anywhere from the mouth to the anus but typically in a lot of Crohn’s patients affects areas such as the small intestine, rectum and sometimes anus. Crohn’s inflammation often runs deep into tissue.
It is important to remember that symptoms and severity of symptoms vary from person to person, but often include:
- Blood in your stool
- Abdominal pain and cramping
- Reduced appetite and weight loss
- Joint pain
- Abnormal fluid or leakage from the anus
- Sudden urgency to empty your bowels with little warning
- Not making it to the toilet in time to empty your bowels
- Constipation or periods of constipation vs diarrhoea
- Trapped wind and increased wind
“What were/are the symptoms you experience with your Crohn’s Disease?”
The symptoms which have been the most prevalent in my IBD journey are:
- Severe abdominal pain often resulting in me being bent over in agony
- Inability to control my bowels
- Reduced appetite and severe weight loss
- Mucus leakage from my anus (before my permanent ileostomy was formed in 2011)
- Feeling cold a lot of the time
- Joint pain
- Trapped wind
- Severe pain when trying to go to the toilet sometimes due to intestinal narrowings
- Skin tags around and outside my anus
- Blood and mucus when emptying my bowels
- Increased wind
- Mouth tears and ulcers
Since my permanent ileostomy was formed in 2011, the main symptoms I experience are:
- Joint and muscle pain
- Trapped wind
- Feeling weak
- Reduced appetite from time to time for days at a time
- Stomach pain followed by bursts of watery stoma output when flaring, exhausted, have a bug or have eaten something that doesn’t agree with me
- Depression and anxiety, but this isn’t solely linked to my Crohn’s
- Ileostomy output in fits and starts or difficulty passing output sometimes due to a narrowing of my ileostomy at skin level
- Mouth ulcers
Life with a chronic illness is definitely not easy, but since my ileostomy operation which saved my life, it is a life that I now can live rather than just existing through in pain & agony. I have problems still but they are a walk in the park compared to what I had to deal with before surgery.
Always get your health worries checked out if they are persistent or you are worried. If something starts suddenly & you can’t go about your daily life or experience symptoms such as blood when emptying your bowels or not being able to go to the toilet at all, seek medical help immediately.
Next time: Chatting Crohn’s diagnosis tests with Comfizz.