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Find out about some of the common symptoms of Crohn's disease in children.
The symptoms of Crohn’s disease are different for each person, so you may not experience exactly the same symptoms as someone else.
Some of the common Crohn’s disease symptoms you may experience are:
Which symptoms you get will depend on where in your digestive system your Crohn’s disease is. If you have it in the upper part (for example from your mouth to stomach) you are more likely to experience nausea, vomiting and mouth ulcers.
However, if you have it in your lower half (such as in your colon) you are more likely to experience diarrhoea, constipation and blood in your poo. It is possible to have Crohn’s disease in several parts of your digestive system so you may experience most or all of these symptoms. The symptoms you have may also change from day-to-day.
Although Crohn’s disease is in your digestive system, it can cause other other areas of your body to be affected. These are known as extra-intestinal manifestations - meaning they affect areas outside of your digestive system.
Some of the extra-intestinal manifestations you might have are:
If you experience any symptoms, whether they are in your digestive system or not, it’s important that you mention them to someone or your doctor or nurse so they can keep an eye on you.
Tummy pain is a common symptom for people with Crohn’s disease. The pain can come and go and it can feel different to everybody and happen in different places.
Some of the reasons why you might get tummy pain when you have Crohn’s disease are:
If you get tummy pain you should speak to your doctor or nurse. They can explore to see if there’s something that is causing the pain which they can help you with.
Extreme tummy pain can be a sign of something more serious and you should ask your parents or carer to call the doctor immediately or take you to hospital to be checked over.
Fatigue is another word for being very tired. It’s common for children with Crohn’s disease to feel fatigued, which can stop you from doing some of the things that your friends do.
It can make you feel:
There are many reasons why you could get fatigue. These include:
If you think you have fatigue you should tell your doctor or nurse. They can do some tests to see if it’s caused by something that they can treat or help you with.
Diarrhoea is a common symptom for children who have Crohn's disease in the lower part of their digestive system. Having diarrhoea means you need to poo more often and the poo is loose and watery. You might also feel an urgency to go to the toilet - meaning you have to rush to get to the toilet.
Diarrhoea from your Crohn’s disease may happen because your intestines are damaged making it hard for your body to absorb water from your poo to make it more solid. It could also be a side effect of some of the medications you are taking.
If you do experience an increase in the number of times you are going to the toilet for a poo you should tell your doctor, nurse or talk to an adult you trust. The diarrhoea could be a sign that you are having a flare of your Crohn’s disease and you may need extra treatment.
However, diarrhoea won’t always be caused by your Crohn’s disease. Some other things that can cause diarrhoea are:
To check the reason for your diarrhoea your doctor will probably do a stool test. They will look to see if there are signs of an infection or an increase in calprotectin (a substance made when inflammation increases). Higher calprotectin levels could mean your Crohn’s disease is active.
Blood and mucous in poo is especially common if you have Crohn's disease in your colon and/or rectum.
Mucous is a jelly-like substance that is made in your colon. It helps protect the bowel and also makes it slippery so that it’s easier for poo to travel through it. When your bowel becomes inflamed this can cause more mucous to be made to help protect the bowel. This inflammation can be caused by an infection, but it can also be caused by Crohn’s disease.
Mucous leaves your body through your bottom and this extra mucous may be visible in your poo, or you may pass just mucous.
You may also pass blood through your bottom when you go to the toilet. Inflammation which damages the lining of your intestines can cause it to bleed.
It can be alarming to see blood and mucous in your poo and if you do see it then it’s important to tell your doctor. The aim of your treatment is to stop the inflammation from your Crohn’s disease, which will stop the blood and mucous.