Community Views: The Worst Symptoms of Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis
Living with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis (UC) means living with a host of symptoms. Any of these symptoms on their own can be annoying and troublesome, and yet, these diagnoses often come with a handful of them.
To learn more about how you are managing your diagnosis, we reached out to our Facebook community and asked: “What is the number one symptom you wish would just instantly disappear?"
Nearly 100 of you answered the question. Here is what was said.
Fatigue can be the worst symptom of Crohn's and UC
“The fatigue is the worst.”
The most common response – fatigue – may come as a surprise to anyone outside the IBD community. Rather than any of the stomach or bowel issues that come with these diagnoses, the feeling of fatigue is the symptom that most of you struggle with the most.
While time in the bathroom is temporary – and certainly annoying and painful – it is not as hard to accept as the feeling of fatigue that stays with you all day long.
“Fatigue. I am almost 45 and feel completely drained almost constantly! Some days I have to lay down after work. I have had Crohn’s for over 20 years and have a history of downplaying my symptoms, but this extreme fatigue is so irritating.”
“Fatigue. I can manage and deal with the other symptoms, including diarrhea, but I am so tired of never having the energy for anything.”
“The fatigue is the worst. I always feel tired! It is worse than stomach pains. After having Crohn’s for 16 years, I have grown to tolerate and ignore the stomach pains, ironically!”
Ongoing and constant diarrhea
“Frequency of diarrhea.”
The second-most common answer is less surprising. For more of you, the ongoing diarrhea is something you just cannot get used to. This makes sense, especially considering how difficult it can be to find a bathroom when traveling or visiting new places. You can never be sure that you will have access to a bathroom when you need it. The ongoing worry that diarrhea could show up at any moment often leads to stress and anxiety.
“Frequency of diarrhea.”
“Diarrhea is urgent and unexpected – and always inconvenient!”
“The big ‘d,’ and I do not mean Dallas!”
Abdominal pain and cramps
Most people with IBD experience abdominal pain. This can include cramping and bloating, which can sometimes be relieved by using the toilet. Some people manage to get used to the stomach pains. However, for others, the intensity of the cramping is so intense that it makes it difficult to manage on a daily basis.
Uncomfortable gas and trapped wind
Excess gas causes a variety of problems. Besides the abdominal discomfort, gas can make social situations uncomfortable. Some doctors recommend probiotics to build up your gut health, which can reduce the severity of the gas. Some nutritionists also recommend avoiding certain foods, including beans, cabbage, raw broccoli, brussels sprouts.
Thank you to everyone who shared their experiences for this story. We appreciate your feedback – it is what makes this community possible.