Crohn’s disease is a medical condition that causes inflammation in one or multiple parts of the digestive system. However, in most cases, Crohn’s disease impacts the small intestine and colon.
Apart from inflammation, Crohn’s disease can lead to various health complications well. These complications can be of two types, including:
- Local complications where only your intestines get impacted
- Systemic complications where your entire body is impacted. These are also called extraintestinal complications.
Local complications of Crohn’s disease include:
- Abscess: Abscess happens when you experience a packet of pus that is a result of bacterial infections. The pus pocket can be formed on the walls of the intestines and then budge out. You can also get it near your near, which often looks like a boil. Apart from the usual Crohn’s disease symptoms, this condition may make you experience symptoms like swelling, pain, tenderness, and fever.
- Bile salt diarrhea: Crohn’s disease often affects the lower end of the intestines, the ileum. The ileum is responsible for absorbing bile acids, which help your body absorb fat. If your body is not able to absorb fat properly, it can lead to causing this type of diarrhea.
- Fissure: A fissure is a painful tear or cuts in the lining of the anus. As a consequence, you can experience bleeding during a bowel movement.
- Malnutrition or Malabsorption: Crohn’s disease profoundly impacts the small intestine. Since the small intestine is responsible for absorbing nutrients from the food you eat, the body’s capability to make energy is influenced greatly. As a result, you may have to deal with malabsorption or malnutrition. For this reason, many individuals have to follow a specialized Crohn’s disease diet to avoid this particular health complication.
- Fistula: Ulcers or sores can turn into an opening called a fistula, which connects two parts of the intestines. If you don’t take Crohn’s disease treatment, the fistula can tunnel into the surrounding tissues as well.
Systemic health complications caused by Crohn’s disease include:
- Arthritis: Arthritis is inflammation in the joints, which can lead to swelling, pain, and lack of flexibility in the joints. It is the most common systematic health complication. There are three types of arthritis caused by Crohn’s disease including axial, peripheral, and ankylosing spondylitis.
- Skin problems: Skin problems are the second most common systematic health complications caused by Crohn’s disease. Some major skin problems caused by Crohn’s disease are skin tags, mouth ulcers, erythema nodosum, and pyoderma gangrenosum.
- Bone-loss: At times, Crohn’s disease requires individuals to take various medications like steroids. These medications can cause bone loss, which is also known as osteoporosis. Moreover, inflammation can also alter the rate at which your body makes and removes bones.
- Vitamin D Deficiency: Crohn’s disease damages the small intestine, which impacts the intestine’s capability to absorb Vitamin D. Moreover, the body is unable to absorb calcium, which further declines Vitamin D levels in your body.
- Eye Problems: The inflammation caused by Crohn’s disease can impact your eyes as well. It can lead to various complications related to the eyes including episcleritis, scleritis, and uveitis.