Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease that affects the digestive tract. Common symptoms of Crohn’s disease include: Diarrhea, abdominal pain and cramps, unintentional weight loss and sometimes bloody stools (1). There is no cure for Crohn’s disease and it needs to be managed with lifestyle changes and medications, such as over-the-counter anti-diarrhetic and prescribed anti-inflammatory drugs (2). Crohn’s is known to cause inflammation and irritation to the lining of the digestive tract and anyone who suffers from the disease undergoes a period of flare-ups followed by a period of remission, where the disease enters an inactive stage and you experience little to no symptoms (1).
How To Tell If Your Crohn’s Is Becoming Worse?
If you suffer from Crohn’s disease, you must always be on the lookout for certain signs and symptoms that may indicate a worsening or advancing of your disease. We take a look at how to tell if your Crohn’s is becoming worse and what you can do about it.
Changes In Your Symptoms Indicate That Your Crohn’s Is Becoming Worse
One of the first indications of your Crohn’s becoming worse or that it is advancing is a change in your existing symptoms or the development of new symptoms. You may find your Crohn’s symptoms getting worse over a period of time or that you are developing new symptoms. This is generally taken as a sign that your Crohn’s is worsening or you might be having a complication.
Apart from worsening symptoms or the appearance of new symptoms, you may also start noticing certain complications related to Crohn’s disease. It is not necessary that these complications are related to the digestive tract only. You may some intestinal complications from Crohn’s that may include: ulcers, bowel obstructions, malnutrition, fistulas and anal fissures.
Other complications that may indicate a worsening of Crohn’s may include: eye pain, redness of the eyes, itchiness in the eyes, mouth sores, skin sores, rashes, bumps on the skin, joint pain and swelling, kidney stones and osteoporosis.
If you notice any of these signs of worsening Crohn’s, then it could be an indication of your disease advancing, and it is therefore, important that you let your doctor know about these complications.
When Your Medications Stop Working, Then It Means Your Crohn’s Is Becoming Worse
The primary objective of taking medications for managing Crohn’s disease is to maintain a longer period of remission. Over a period of time, though, you may begin to notice that your medications that once successfully controlled your symptoms of Crohn’s are no longer helping. This is usually a sign that Crohn’s disease is now advancing.
However, as each person suffers through Crohn’s disease in a different manner, thus everyone needs to try out several different types of medications or combination of medications and therapies before finding the right treatment that works well.
Even during the periods of remission, most people will continue to take the medicines for Crohn’s disease, even if they are not experiencing any symptoms. If you stop the medication thinking you are in a remission phase, it may lead to a flare-up of your Crohn’s symptoms again. This is why it is very important that you keep taking your medications as your doctor has prescribed. If you are concerned about your medications not having the same effect anymore, then you should talk to your doctor immediately.
New Signs Of Inflammation Indicate That Your Crohn’s Is Becoming Worse
New signs of inflammation are usually a sure shot sign of the progressing of Crohn’s disease. If you or your doctor suspects that there may be new signs of inflammation, then you will need to undergo an imaging test of the digestive tract. Long-term or chronic inflammation of the digestive tract can lead to permanent and lasting damage to the digestive tract. This can further lead to other complications both inside and outside of the intestines, as well as cause malnutrition.
Complications of Crohn’s disease usually occur when there is severe inflammation of the intestines and the inflammation is also widespread or extending beyond the intestines’ inner lining.
In some rare cases, a complication from Crohn’s disease can eventually become a medical emergency and you must immediately seek medical help if you notice or experience any of the following signs and symptoms when suffering from Crohn’s disease:
- You are running a high fever.
- You feel faint.
- Your pulse is feeling weaker or faster than normal.
- You are experiencing severe belly pain.
- You are going through a long-lasting or intense bout of diarrhea or vomiting.
It is very important that you keep seeing your doctor at regular intervals, when you are in the remission phase of Crohn’s disease and not experiencing any symptoms. While you may be feeling good, there is no way to tell what is going on inside the digestive tract without the doctor conducting an imaging test regularly. Visiting every six months is a good idea and will allow your doctor to keep evaluating your digestive tract for any signs of inflammation or damage from Crohn’s disease. Your doctor will also ensure that your medications and treatment plan is working well for you and that your Crohn’s is not advancing.
- Crohn’s Disease or Terminal Ileitis: Classification & Types, Epidemiology, Causes, Risk Factors, Symptoms, Signs, Treatment, Investigations, Tests
- Pregnancy and Crohn’s Disease
- Can Microscopic Colitis Turn Into Crohn’s Disease?
- Biologics for Crohn’s Disease – Do they Work?
- Crohn’s Disease vs. Lactose Intolerance : Differences Worth Knowing