We hear from community members every day that they wish their friends, family, and even doctors knew more about how inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) affects their day to day life – and not the bathroom related symptoms. Everyone is different and experiences their Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis uniquely, but we also know there are some common symptoms that we’ve all had to deal with.
Here are some of the less well-known but still common symptoms that we see discussed in our community:
Pain is a big one! People living with IBD (Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis) often feel misunderstood by their friends and family members and even the healthcare professionals they look to for information. Because IBD is often invisible, loved ones don’t understand that pain plays a major role in the day to day and that your entire body can hurt, not just your stomach.
IBD is exhausting! Between the doctor’s appointments, the time spent on food, and the micromanaging that many people living with IBD deal with, it’s no wonder that fatigue is a top complain on our site. Add to that the physical fatigue that comes as a result of dealing with IBD and the complications of IBD, and it can be a victory just to get out of bed some days.
Many people think that IBD is only “a bathroom disease” but people living with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis deal with inflammation and joint pain as well. IBD doesn’t just affect the digestive tract – it is something that can affect your entire body!
Fever and Night Sweats
Inflammation, like the inflammation associated with IBD, can change how your body reacts to external temperature changes meaning that people living with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis often deal with fever, chills, and night sweats. Combined with pain and insomnia, these symptoms can make it difficult to get to sleep and add to fatigue as well.
Mouth and Skin Issues
Many people are surprised to learn that IBD can also affect the mouth and skin. Inflammation within the digestive tract can start in the mouth and can also be aggravated by nutritional challenges and the medications that are used to treat Crohn’s and UC. Many people living with IBD experience mouth sores, dental issues, and skin issues arising from inflammation.
How do these symptoms rate when it comes to your experience with IBD? Are there others you would add to the list of lesser known symptoms? Which symptoms do you wish were more widely known?