What are the symptoms of Crohn's disease?

Crohn’s disease symptoms include:

  • a change in bowel movements, often diarrhea, which might be bloody
  • lower belly pain

Crohn’s disease should be considered in anyone with these symptoms, particularly older people.

Younger people with Crohn’s disease also tend to have weight loss and failure to thrive. They have slow growth rates for their age, height and weight.

In many people, Crohn’s disease affects the distal part of the small intestine -- that part that connects with the large intestine. This can cause pain in the right, lower part of your belly.

Other symptoms of Crohn’s disease may include decreased appetite and weight loss. The condition sometimes causes bowel obstructions (blockages), which require a hospital stay and maybe even surgery. 

Trinity Health is a Catholic health care organization that acts in accordance with the Catholic tradition and does not condone or support all practices covered in this site. In case of emergency call 911. This site is educational and not a substitute for professional medical advice, always seek the advice of a qualified health care provider.

Symptoms of Crohn’s include abdominal pain, fever, prolonged diarrhea, loss of appetite, weight loss, abdominal mass, fatigue, and gastrointestinal bleeding. Your physician can make a diagnosis through a physical exam. Additional tests, like an endoscopy, colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy, small bowel follow-through, barium enema, upper GI series, capsule endoscopy (pill cam) or stool culture, may also be necessary.

Symptoms of Crohn's disease include the following:

  • Diarrhea. Diarrhea happens because the gut can’t absorb water, so the water stays in poop (stool) and makes it runny. Diarrhea can cause cramps and make going to the toilet painful.
  • Feeling sick and not wanting to eat.
  • Feeling tired and losing weight. When the small bowel is damaged, it can’t take in nutrients from food. This means the body doesn’t get all the energy it needs, so people feel tired and might lose weight.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.