There are many ways IBD affects a patient’s body. And, as with any diagnosis, each person will suffer symptoms individually. Some will experience more problems than others, and just because one person has a symptom, does not mean all IBD warriors will have the same.
With an autoimmune disease like Crohn’s, problems come in a lot of different ways. I had no symptoms until Crohn’s suddenly took over my life. I began having recurring symptoms, including dehydration and diarrhea — my main complaints.
Your body is composed of about two-thirds water, and when you lose a significant amount, the body reacts. Water helps to keep your body temperature regulated, and it helps joints and blood flow by helping keep blood volume intact. It also helps keep your kidneys and skin healthy.
Dehydration, to keep it simple, is when the body is losing water and the water loss is more than the amount you are putting into your body. Dehydration is a dangerous risk for anyone, but Crohn’s disease patients have to monitor their hydration levels especially closely because of the fluids lost during bouts of diarrhea. Additionally, intestinal inflammation caused by the disease can prevent the intestines and colon from maintaining healthy water absorption.
Dehydration, in turn, can lead to diarrhea, leading to a never-ending cycle of the body losing fluid and then losing more fluid.
When the body becomes dehydrated, it can cause more problems like headaches, dizziness, fatigue, a lack of energy, extreme thirst, muscle cramps, an inability to sweat, and even dry eyes. You can monitor your hydration by — you guessed it — the color of your urine. Too dark, and you need more water intake. If it is clear, then you probably are reaching your necessary water intake. However, too much fluid can cause diarrhea, too.
Knowing what to look for, and bringing up your concerns with your care team, is of high importance in helping maintain a healthy fluid intake.
My experiences may be different than yours, but you never can be too prepared for what could happen with Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis. For me, it could be worse.
Note: IBD News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of IBD News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to IBD.
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