Warning Signs of Crohn’s Disease Every Woman Should Know

Crohn’s disease symptoms range from mild to severe. They may vary over time and from person to person, depending on what part of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract is inflamed. And because symptoms vary from person to person, the way to gauge what you consider a flare-up of symptoms is relative to what is “normal” for you.

Common Crohn’s disease symptoms include:

  • Frequent, recurring diarrhea
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Fever
  • Abdominal pain and cramping
  • Fatigue and a feeling of low energy
  • Reduced appetite

Crohn’s can affect the entire GI tract — from the mouth to the anus — and can be progressive, so over time, your symptoms could get worse. That’s why it’s important that you have an open and honest conversation about your symptoms, since your doctor will use that information to help determine what treatment plan is best for you.

It might be helpful to refer to the chart below to help you understand the differences between mild, moderate and severe symptoms, since your doctor may use similar measures.

Crohn’s Disease Symptom Severity

Mild to Moderate

You may have symptoms such as:

  • Frequent diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain (but can walk and eat normally)
  • No signs of:
    • Dehydration
    • High fever
    • Abdominal tenderness
    • Painful mass
    • Intestinal obstruction
    • Weight loss of more than 10%

Moderate to Severe

You may have symptoms such as:

  • Frequent diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain or tenderness
  • Fever
  • Significant weight loss
  • Significant anemia (a few of these symptoms may include fatigue, shortness of breath, dizziness and headache)

Very Severe

Persistent symptoms despite appropriate treatment for moderate to severe Crohn’s, and you may also experience:

  • High fever
  • Persistent vomiting
  • Evidence of intestinal obstruction(blockage) or abscess (localized infection or collection of pus). A few of these symptoms may include abdominal pain that doesn’t go away or gets worse, swelling of the abdomen, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, and constipation.
  • More severe weight loss

Once you and your doctor have discussed your symptoms and created a treatment plan, it’s important to follow directions and take your treatment as prescribed. If you ever have any questions or concerns about your treatment, you should contact your doctor before making any changes or adjustments.

Crohn’s disease is unpredictable. Over time, your symptoms may change in severity, or change altogether. You may go through periods of remission—when you have few or no symptoms. Or your symptoms may come on suddenly, without warning.