Crohn's disease is a serious, and often life-altering, disease, and its symptoms affect those who have it on physical, social, and emotional levels.
Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis are Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, a type of disease about which little is known and which affects 1 million to 1.3 million people in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said
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"We still do not have a precise understanding of how many people experience Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis because we lack standard criteria for diagnosing IBD," the CDC said. "Identifying cases of IBD is often inconsistent or the disease may be classified as another condition."
Because of that, a list of the symptoms of Crohn's disease is much like a list of IBD symptoms, in general.
According to the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America
, the "tell-tale symptoms" of Crohn's include:
1. Persistent diarrhea
2. Rectal bleeding
3. Urgent need to move bowels
4. Abdominal pain/cramps
5. Sensation of incomplete evacuation
6. Constipation, which can lead to bowel obstruction
8. Weight Loss
10. Night sweats
11. Loss of normal menstrual cycle
12. Delay of growth and development in children
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These symptoms are the same as in many other gastrointestinal diseases, and unfortunately there is not a single test or even a series of tests that can diagnose Crohn's disease, WebMD said
"To make a diagnosis of Crohn's disease, your doctor is likely to gather information from multiple sources," the medical website said, adding that multiple lab tests and examinations can help to rule out other health problems.
Along with the physical symptoms, Crohn's disease, like many other chronic diseases, creates an emotional burden. William Fiennes, who has Crohn's, wrote on the National Health Services website
that it's hard for people to understand the illness.
"Everyone's familiar with diarrhea, but normally for just 24 hours. What they've got to imagine is diarrhea for 24 hours every day for months, with pain and weakness," he wrote. "Also, people make the assumption (as Crohn's is a bowel condition) that it's to do with food allergy and you can just cut out certain foods like dairy or wheat and that will solve everything. While this might be helpful in some patients to an extent, it's not in any way a treatment for such an organic disease.
"Crohn's disease grinds on and on. It zaps you of vigour and energy — both physically and psychologically," he added.
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