How Well Is Your Crohn's Disease Being Managed?
Gina Battaglia | Dec 19, 2017
- 4 Yes, the frequency of my bowel movements has increased substantially
- 3 Yes, the frequency has increased moderately
- 2 Yes, the frequency has increased slightly
- 1 No, the frequency has remained the same
Over the past 2 weeks, have you experienced an increase in the frequency of your bowel movements?
It's common for people with Crohn's disease to have frequent bowel movements, and for those bowel movements to be loose. A significant increase in the number of bowel movements you have may indicate a disease flare or relapse if your Crohn's had previously been in clinical remission.
Over the past 2 weeks, how often have your bowel movements been loose?
Loose bowel movements, particularly if they are frequent, are common in people living with Crohn's disease. A high frequency of loose bowel movements may indicate a disease flare or relapse, especially if your Crohn's disease had been in remission.
In the past 2 weeks, have you had more abdominal pain or cramping?
People living with Crohn's disease often have abdominal pain or cramping that is partially relieved by having a bowel movement. Pain or cramping that has increased substantially in frequency may indicate a disease flare or relapse.
In the past 2 weeks, how often have you been unable to go to work, attend school, or keep social engagements because of bowel problems related to Crohn's disease?
Bowel problems that interfere with work, school, or social engagements may indicate a disease flare or relapse if your Crohn's has previously been in remission. Talk with your doctor to determine whether a different treatment strategy may be more effective in controlling your symptoms.
Relatively speaking, how have your energy levels been over the past 2 weeks?
Energy levels that are much lower than normal may be signs that your Crohn's disease is worsening. However, lower energy levels can also be tied to factors unrelated to Crohn's disease. Therefore, a talk with your doctor, along with an assessment of your other symptoms, can help find the reason for your lower energy levels and determine appropriate management.
How much difficulty have you had performing leisure or sports activities over the past 2 weeks?
Bowel problems that interfere with leisure or sports activities may indicate a disease flare or relapse if your Crohn's has been in remission. Talk with your doctor to determine whether a different treatment plan might be more effective at controlling your Crohn's symptoms.
Have you experienced noticeable weight loss over the past 1-6 months, particularly if you have not been trying to lose weight? For example, if you weigh 150 pounds and you've lost 15 pounds, that's 10 percent weight loss - a significant amount in a short period.
Unintentional weight loss is common in people with Crohn's disease, particularly during hospitalization. Severe weight loss (e.g., more than10 percent in 6 months) is often a sign that Crohn's disease symptoms are poorly controlled. You may wish to consult with your doctor or a dietitian to ensure you're eating a balanced diet and getting adequate calories, while avoiding foods that trigger disease flares.
Over the past 2 weeks, has the frequency of your rectal bleeding increased?
Rectal bleeding is less common with Crohn's disease than with ulcerative colitis, but you may experience it if your Crohn's affects your colon. An increase in frequency of rectal bleeding may indicate poorly controlled disease and/or greater involvement of the colon, and may warrant adjustments in management strategies.
How frequently do you have worries or anxieties related to your Crohn's disease? These may include concerns about cancer, worries that symptoms will never improve, or anxiety about having a relapse.
Frequent worries or anxieties about Crohn's may indicate that your disease management plan is not optimal or that your concerns have not been addressed by your health care team. Furthermore, some evidence suggests that anxiety and depression may shorten the duration between Crohn's disease flares. You may want to ask your doctor for a referral to a mental health provider to address your concerns.
Over the past 2 weeks, how frequently have you felt an urge to go to the bathroom even though your bowels are empty?
Feeling the urge to have a bowel movement even though your bowels are empty is a common Crohn's symptom. Frequent urges to have a bowel movement may indicate a disease flare or relapse, so you should check in with your doctor.
Do you have any extraintestinal (outside of the intestines) symptoms ? Common extraintestinal symptoms related to Crohn's include eye inflammation, arthritis, osteoporosis, skin rashes, inflammation of the liver or bile ducts, kidney stones, and gallstones.
Symptoms related to Crohn's that are outside of the intestines can occur in patients who have had Crohn's for several years and may be related to the disease itself or to medications used for treatment. Some of these non-intestinal symptoms may be associated with severe or poorly controlled disease. Talk with your doctor to rule out causes unrelated to Crohn's.