Extra-intestinal Problems, Part One

Extra-intestinal Problems, Part One
Editor’s note: This is the first installment in a series of columns by Mary Horsley about extra-intestinal problems and IBD-related symptoms. Because Crohn's disease can lead to many other extra-intestinal complaints and ailments, this series will focus on additional problems or conditions that can happen with your disease. With a diagnosis of Crohn’s or colitis, the bowels often aren’t the only part of the body to have inflammation manifestations, the entire body is often involved in the suffering. From top to bottom, Crohn's disease and IBD can affect you anywhere. As I mentioned in two previous series, Crohn's Complications and Beyond the Bathroom, there are many problems beyond the restroom. Complications can happen with any form of autoimmune disease, through symptoms, sickness or added complaints. Crohn's disease is a host for many, many other troubles. Crohn's patients, and all IBD sufferers, can experience extra-intestinal symptoms, and sometimes other problems manifest. Crohn's disease and immune-suppressing medication weaken the immune response; so, getting sick is a risk. Bowel diseases like Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis often are just assumed as being “bathroom diseases,” or all about the poop. Usually, when IBD patients mention their diagnosis, the first assumption is that we suffer only in the restroom. It is commonly believed that our problems are only bathroom-related issues and it is assumed that once we “go” we are OK. Extra-intestinal ailments include problems with the eyes, joints, skin, blood, inner organs and renal diseases. With any diagnosis, there are several ways it could affect your body, and these extra-intestinal ailments are a few of the symptoms IBD patients can face after diagnosis. This series wil
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  1. I’ve had Crohn’s for more than 40 years I’ve been in remission following successful intestinal resectioning surgery but still undergo routine endoscopies and colonoscopies. It was during one of those routine procedures my doctor discovered evidence of esophageal cancer of which I had no symptoms. As a result of this early detection I underwent an esophagectomy eliminating the cancer.
    Since esophageal cancer is, I’m told, usually symptom free until it has staged to a point at which it is usually fatal, I can truly say Crohn’s saved my life — though I wouldn’t recommend it!

    • Mary Horsley says:

      I am glad you have found remission! Yikes at finding the cancer, I hope things are okay with that. Double ended sword of sorts, that Crohn’s disease. With mine, we found an extra spleen and a ganglioneuroma by chance. *Hugs*

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