Does Crohn’s Disease Cause Side Effects and Complications?
Managing Crohn’s disease typically means that the disease goes into remission, your gastronomic and digestive health returns to almost-as-normal, and you won’t suffer from additional complications or side effects. But, if you’ve just been diagnosed after spending some time ignoring your trying to wait out your symptoms, chances are that you have a lot of complications. Some of them may even require surgery to return your digestive system to a health working condition.
Most Crohn’s disease complications relate to a combination of worsening infection inside the gut or the side effects of that infection on the rest of the body.
Common Intestinal Complications
The most common side effects for long-term unmanaged Crohn’s are obstruction, scar tissue in the intestines, abscesses, fissures, and fistulas.
- Obstruction – part of the intestine may be damaged or blocked to prevent food from passing through. This will typically cause very severe symptoms and likely require emergency care.
- Scarring – Scar tissue forms over time through a combination of high levels of bacteria in the stomach and the acid in the stomach. Over time, the intestinal lining becomes damaged, making it more prone to infection and further inflammation, naturally resulting in protective scar tissue. This can reduce the efficacy of the intestinal muscles, cause blockage, and cause pain.
- Abscesses – Small collections of pus can form anywhere near or around a persistent infection, which can create further risks, including obstruction, spreading infection if it bursts, pain, and discomfort.
- Fissures – Small cuts or tears in the anal canal, typically responsible for blood in the stool. These may be painful, or may be almost unnoticeable compared with pain in the stomach.
- Fistulas – Fistulas are holes formed in the intestinal wall or stomach, which allow the contents to leak. In some cases, fistulas form between two walls of intestines, in other cases, they will allow gastric acid to escape into the rest of the body, causing massive infection and pain.
After diagnosis, your doctor may recommend surgery to repair or remove damage done to your digestive tract.
Other Side Affects
Crohn’s disease naturally causes inflammation in the intestines, which results in a number of concerning complications.
- Inflammation – Inflammation of the small intestine prevents the absorption of Vitamin B and D. People with active Crohn’s disease may want to have vitamin levels tested to ensure that they are not deficient.
- Blood Loss – Inflammation and ulceration in the intestine often leads to iron-deficiency or anemia. Have your blood tested to be sure before taking supplements.
- Kidney Stones – Most people with Crohn’s disease in the lower intestine have more problems with kidney stones than those without.
- Extra-Intestinal – Extra-intestinal symptoms happen when infection in the gut causes complications elsewhere. Inflammation in the stomach can cause strong reactions in the eyes, hair, and skin. If you’re having problems, even if they don’t seem related to Crohn’s, discuss them with your doctor.
All of these complications are most prevalent in unmanaged Crohn’s. Well-managed Crohn’s disease is much more likely to go into remission for weeks, months, or even years, rather than causing further problems. Therefore, once you know that you have Crohn’s, you have the ability to prevent most possible complications and to keep yourself in better health.
Click through to the next page to learn more about Crohn’s disease flare ups.