How Crohn’s Disease Affects More Than Just Your Gut

Closeup of eyedropper putting liquid into open eye

galitskayaGetty Images

If you've recently been diagnosed with Crohn's disease, chances are you haven't thought about how it can affect parts of the body beyond the bowels. After all, abdominal pain and diarrhea are hallmark symptoms. Crohn's disease most commonly affects the ileum, which is the end of the small bowel and the beginning of the colon. But inflammation from the illness can spread elsewhere, including the eyes, skin, and joints.

"When Crohn's becomes active, inflammation can lead to other areas of the body. The gastrointestinal tract includes the mouth and anus, so it's no surprise that these areas can also be affected," says Shannon Chang, MD, a gastroenterologist who specializes in Crohn's and ulcerative colitis at NYU Langone.

The disease can also cause lead to malabsorption of nutrients that are vital to the function of several organs, so if you're lacking iron, vitamin D, and calcium, for example, your energy levels, bones, and brain health might suffer. Here are other classic symptoms of and ways to detect Crohn's disease:

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

1 Dry eyes

People with Crohn's disease may be deficient in vitamin A, which is important for maintaining healthy vision. Because of this, many Crohn's patients experience blurred vision and dry eyes, which can lead to redness, irritation, and burning.

Uveitis and episcleritis are two other common eye complications of Crohn's, says Dr. Chang. Uveitis is inflammation in the uvea—the middle layer of the eye wall, while episcleritis is inflammation of the outer coating of the white of the eye, aka the episclera.

"They [uveitis and episcleritis] can both cause pain in the eye and inflammation, so it's important that patients see an ophthalmologist immediately if they have symptoms," she says.

2 Mouth ulcers

People living with Crohn's can develop mouth ulcers and canker sores, also known as aphthous stomatitis. These sores can show up in the gums and lower lip as well as the sides of the mouth and the base of the tongue. Dr. Chang says patients normally experience them during a flare. "The best way to treat these symptoms is to treat the Crohn's, because other treatments for the sores themselves are just short-term relief," Dr. Chang says. Some doctors also recommend using a prescribed mouthwash to tame the infection and certain multivitamin supplements to help treat the deficiency.

3 Red bumps and lesions

"Erethema nodosum are red welts on the legs that can vary in size, but they're roughly the size of a dime and bigger than hives," Dr. Chang says. These red welts can also appear on the shins, ankles, and arms. Like several of the symptoms on this list, many people with Crohn's experience erethema nodosum when they have a flare-up. Some Crohn's patients may also develop pyoderma gangrenosum, which are pus-filled skin lesions in the shins or ankles, but people can develop them in the arms, too. While they may start as small clusters of blisters, they can join together to form deep ulcers. The treatment is to get your Crohn's under control, but your doctor may also prescribe topical creams and antibiotics.

4 Anal fissures

Chronic diarrhea and painful bowel movements can cause anal fissures in people with Crohn's. Anal fissures are small tears in the tissue that lines the anus. Inflammation from Crohn's can also lead to anal fissures, even without any bowel obstructions. "When anal fissures happen, we prescribe Remicade (infliximab) or consider doing an ostomy, which involves a surgical procedure to create a stoma for bodily waste to pass through an ostomy bag or pouch.

5 Joint pain

You're more likely develop vitamin D and calcium deficiencies with Crohn's, so many people with the condition may also have osteoporosis. "When the ileum is inflamed, it's hard for your body to absorb vitamin D, and malabsorption of vitamin D prevents calcium from being absorbed into the bones," explains Ellen Scherl, MD, director of the Jill Roberts IBD Center at New York Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medicine.

"Joint complaints can be migratory, so it can lead from part of the body to another," Dr. Scherl says. For example, back pain is a common complaint, but Crohn's patients can also have stiffness in the wrists, hips, and knees. Dr. Chang recommends treating joint pain with heat, ice, and stretching but to stay away from NSAIDs as they can affect Crohn's in the gut. Dr. Scherl and Dr. Chang both say that doctors will also order x-rays to rule out stress fractures and rheumatic disorders, which are common in Crohn's patients.

6 Fatigue

Another classic example of how malabsorption of nutrients can lead to a Crohn's complication, fatigue, or anemia is due to an iron deficiency. "Iron deficiency can also be a result of blood loss from active bleeding with colitis and anal fistulas, which are small openings or tunnels that form inside the anus to an opening on the skin around the anus," Dr. Scherl explains. Dr. Scherl also says there tends to be an overlap with celiac disease and Crohn's, so having celiac disease can also affect the way your body absorbs iron—and vitamin C, which helps your body to take in iron.

7 Significant weight loss

Unexpected weight loss is a classic sign of Crohn's disease. "We have to ask patients if it's because they're not eating because they get gassy or start cramping or vomiting. A lot of patients just don't eat because they're afraid of how the food will affect them," Dr. Scherl says.

Dietitians working with people living with Crohn's generally recommend a low-fiber diet with limited processed foods, especially for those with strictures or narrowing in their bowels. But if you don't have strictures, "we like to recommend a diet filled with plenty of anti-inflammatory foods, like vegetables and fruits, lean protein, and whole grains, like the Mediterranean diet," Dr. Chang says. It's a common misconception that you shouldn't have fiber if you have Crohn's, but it depends on your condition.

Tiffany Ayuda, a senior editor at Prevention and certified personal trainer through the American Council on Exercise, has specialized in fitness, health, and general wellness topics in her previously editorial roles at Life by Daily Burn, Everyday Health, and South Beach Diet.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

That was How Crohn’s Disease Affects More Than Just Your Gut

That Was How Crohn’s Disease Affects More Than Just Your Gut, Hopefully it's useful and you like it.

You are reading How Crohn’s Disease Affects More Than Just Your Gut,Url address: https://www.fiwwit.com/2019/04/how-crohns-disease-affects-more-than.html

No comments:

Post a Comment

Iklan Atas Artikel

Iklan Tengah Artikel 1

Iklan Tengah Artikel 2

Iklan Bawah Artikel

==[Close X]==