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Julie Hambleton
Julie Hambleton
May 25, 2024 ·  6 min read

7 Signs Your Stomach Trouble Might Be Crohn’s Disease

Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory bowel disorder that affects approximately 3 million people worldwide. It can be difficult to diagnose because its symptoms can resemble those of other gastrointestinal conditions. One of the most common symptoms is tummy troubles – that’s right, we’re talking about your p-o-o-p. In this article, we will explore seven signs that your stomach problems might be Crohn’s disease.

Understanding Crohn’s Disease

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Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory condition that can affect any part of the digestive tract, from the mouth to the anus. However, it most commonly affects the small intestine and/or the colon. In Crohn’s disease, the immune system attacks healthy cells in the digestive tract, leading to inflammation and tissue damage. The exact cause of Crohn’s disease is not yet known, but researchers believe it is due to a combination of genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors. These factors may trigger an abnormal immune response that leads to inflammation. (1)

Crohn’s disease can present in various ways and affects everyone differently. Some people may have mild symptoms that do not significantly affect their quality of life, while others may experience severe symptoms that require surgery. Common symptoms of Crohn’s disease include abdominal pain and cramping, diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss, and rectal bleeding.

Read More: This is what sleeping on the left side does for our brain, stomach & glymphatic health

Crohn’s and Stomach Problems: How Crohn’s affects your Poop

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One of the most common symptoms of Crohn’s disease is changes in bowel movements. This could mean a lot of things, none of which are comfortable or particularly fun to talk about. Depending on which part of the GI tract is inflamed, different poop changes may occur, which will impact the color, texture, and frequency of bowel movements.

7 Ways Crohn’s Disease Changes Your Poop

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As mentioned, Crohn’s disease, being a condition of the digestive tract, often affects our bowel movements. This can cause a lot of issues, first and foremost being pain and discomfort, but also mental and emotional distress. If you chronically suffer from tummy troubles, here are some symptoms that could indicate that your problem is Crohn’s disease.

1. Color

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Crohn’s disease can cause stools to be green or yellow, indicating an imbalance of bile in the intestine. This is because the inflammation in the intestines can cause bile to be released into the stool. Bile is a yellow-green fluid that helps break down fats and is produced by the liver. When there is too much bile in your poop, it can make it look green or yellow. (2)

Sometimes, your bowel movements can have a red or even black color to them. This is because of ulcers in the GI tract, which cause bleeding. This blood then is mixed into your bowel movements, changing their color. Blood in your stool can be a sign of other dangerous conditions, such as cancer, so be sure to speak with your doctor if you notice this. (3)

Finally, Crohn’s often causes absorption and digestion problems. This means that if you have eaten something brightly colored, like spinach or beets, you may see those colors show up in your poop. You also may notice pieces of undigested food. (4)

2. Texture

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Some people with Crohn’s disease may have diarrhea that is watery, or soft, muddy stools that are difficult to pass. This is because the inflammation in the intestines can cause the lining of the colon to become damaged. When this happens, water is not absorbed as well and it passes through your body more quickly than normal. This can lead to loose stools or diarrhea.

On the other hand, Cronh’s can also cause constipation. In this case, rather than loose and watery, stools will appear more hard and pebbly. This can cause great discomfort and also increase your risk of developing ulcers and scarring. (5)

3. Smell

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Chronic diarrhea caused by Crohn’s disease can produce a foul odor. This odor usually smells like rotten eggs or sulfur. This is because the bacteria in your intestines break down food and produce gas. When you have diarrhea, the bacteria have more time to break down food and produce gas than when you have normal bowel movements. (6)

4. Frequency

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Many people with Crohn’s disease experience frequent bowel movements, sometimes up to 20 times per day. This is because the inflammation in your intestines causes them to move more quickly than normal. This can lead to diarrhea, which is defined as having three or more loose stools per day. (7)

Read More: Early Symptoms of a Stomach Ulcer That Shouldn’t Be Ignored

5. Urgency

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The need to have a bowel movement immediately can occur, and some people may not make it to the bathroom in time. This is called urgency, and it can be a symptom of Crohn’s disease. Urgency is often accompanied by cramping or pain in the abdomen. (8)

6. Fecal Incontinence

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Involuntary release of stools may occur in some people. This is called fecal incontinence, and it can be a symptom of Crohn’s disease. Fecal incontinence occurs when the muscles that control bowel movements are weakened or damaged. This can happen if you have an infection in your intestines or if they become inflamed from Crohn’s disease. (9)

7. Incomplete Bowel Movements

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Not feeling fully empty after a bowel movement might happen and is common if you have Crohn’s disease. This is called incomplete bowel movements, and it can be a symptom of Crohn’s disease. Incomplete bowel movements occur when you don’t feel like you’ve fully emptied your intestines after having a bowel movement. This can happen if the muscles that control bowel movements are weakened or damaged. (10)

What to do about it

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There are several different treatment options for Crohn’s disease, including medication, dietary changes, and surgery. The approach depends on the severity of the disease and the specific symptoms that a person is experiencing. Common medications include corticosteroids, immunomodulators, and biologic agents. Dietary changes may also help alleviate some symptoms, such as avoiding spicy foods and increasing fiber intake. Surgery may be necessary in severe cases to remove damaged sections of the digestive tract. (11)

It’s vital to work with your healthcare provider to find the best treatment plan for you that will help improve the management of Crohn’s disease. It’s a lifelong disease, and regular check-ups with a gastroenterologist are necessary.

The Bottom Line

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Crohn’s disease is a common inflammatory bowel disorder that can be difficult to diagnose. Common symptoms include abdominal pain, diarrhea, weight loss, and fatigue. Changes in bowel movements are a common sign and can include changes to color, texture, frequency, urgency, fecal incontinence, and incomplete bowel movements. Treating Crohn’s disease requires a team of healthcare professionals from a gastroenterologist to a nutritionist to tailor-make a plan that suits your symptoms’ severity. By being vigilant about changes in bowel movements and seeking medical attention promptly, people with Crohn’s disease can manage their symptoms and live a healthy, fulfilling life.

Read More: Stomach Sounds: Are Yours Normal or Is Something Wrong in Your Gut?


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  2. Can Crohn’s disease cause yellow stools?Medical News Today. Karen Veazey. April 8, 2024.
  3. Living with Crohn’s Disease.” Crohns Colitis Foundation
  4. Postoperative diarrhea in Crohn’s disease: Pathogenesis, diagnosis, and therapy.” WJGNET. En-Hao Wu, Zhen Guo, Wei-Ming Zhu. January 6, 2023.
  5. A prospective study comparing patient-reported outcomes in Crohn’s disease.” Journals. Hoekman, Daniël R., et al.
  6. Nutritional Aspects in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases.” MDPI. Paola Balestrieri., et al. 2020.
  7. Advances in Clinical and Experimental Medicine.” Wroclaw Medical University
  8. Prevalence and Factors Associated With Fecal Urgency Among Patients With Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease in the Study of a Prospective Adult Research Cohort With Inflammatory Bowel Disease.” Oxford Academic. Ghadeer K Dawwas, MSc, MBA, PhD., et al. July 2021.
  9. DOI
  10. Gastrointestinal motility and absorptive disorders in patients with inflammatory bowel diseases: Prevalence, diagnosis and treatment.” WJGnet
  11. Treatment for Crohn’s Disease How do doctors treat Crohn’s disease?NIDDK. Luísa Leite Barros, Alberto Queiroz Farias and Ali Rezaie. August 21, 2019.