Unfortunately, the symptoms go way beyond abdominal pain.
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:
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.
|Read on: 7 Crohn's Disease Symptoms - Crohn's Signs and Complications|