Often gastrointestinal upset will send people to the pharmacy to find an over the counter remedy, and they never even consider seeing a doctor for the problem. It is important to know when it is time to stop self diagnosing and see a doctor to rule out more serious conditions such as Crohn’s disease.
Crohn’s disease often presents with diarrhea and abdominal cramping which may have you reaching for the Imodium or changing your diet to help with symptoms, but unlike GI upset Crohn’s disease progresses. Symptoms of Crohn’s disease can include fever, fatigue, decreased appetite, weight loss and blood in the stool. Crohn’s disease is diagnosed by your physician and although there is no cure, there are many different treatment options to help control symptoms. Living with Crohn’s disease can be very hard due to the pain, fatigue and sometimes feeling like you cannot leave your home due to diarrhea or other symptoms. After diagnosis it is important to continue to see your doctor to monitor and maintain your symptoms, both physical and emotional. Because Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory disease and causes inflammation in the colon or small bowel, patients are at a higher risk of developing colon cancer and should have continued surveillance.
If you are having diarrhea that is not controlled with other the counter medications, it may be time to talk with your doctor about your symptoms. If you are having worsening symptoms such as abdominal pain, fever lasting more than two days, unexplained weight loss or blood in your stool, call GI Associates and schedule an appointment. Our doctors are here to help you with any concerns you may have.