Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that can lead to blood in bowel movements. It can also change their frequency and color. Medications, diets, and lifestyle changes can help manage these symptoms.
A better understanding of Crohn’s disease can help you to understand what to expect, why these bowel changes occur, and potential ways to reduce the frequency of these bathroom trips.
Crohn’s disease frequently causes inflammation in the small or large intestine. This inflammation can impact the amount and type of bowel movements you experience.
Especially when Crohn’s disease is active, it
- diarrhea when the inflamed intestinal lining can’t absorb all the liquid and triggers spasms of the intestinal muscles
- constipation due to a narrowing of a section of the intestines
- blood or mucus in the stool as a result of inflammation or fissures in the colon and anus
People with Crohn’s disease may feel like they have not completed their bowel movements after going to the bathroom. They may also experience abdominal pain and pain when having bowel movements.
Changes in bowel movements while on treatments can be a sign that an individual’s Crohn’s disease is flaring up.
So, even if you’ve already been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, it’s important to consult your doctor or healthcare team when bleeding or other changes occur.
Crohn’s disease won’t turn your poop a specific color. But it may influence what color your poop is.
People with Crohn’s disease may experience malabsorption. So if you eat something vibrantly colored — bright green spinach, lots of orange carrots, etc. — it may not be fully absorbed, and you may end up with poop that color.
Additionally, especially when Crohn’s disease is active, blood or mucus in stools is
Blood in the stool can make it appear red or even black. The brighter the color of red in the poop, the lower in the intestines the bleeding occurs. Mucus can appear white or yellowish. It may be slippery and appear stringy or gel-like.
There’s currently no cure for Crohn’s disease. Symptoms like increased bowel movements can come and go throughout your life.
But there are treatments that can help make Crohn’s less active and decrease symptoms like more frequent pooping.
Your doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory medications to help treat your Crohn’s disease. These medications can potentially help to reduce the amount you poop by keeping inflammation in your GI tract down.
In some cases, your doctor may also prescribe antidiarrheal medications. These should only be taken after talking with your healthcare team, though. It’s important to note that these do not help all people with these symptoms.
Your doctor may also suggest meeting with a dietician to determine a diet less likely to trigger your Crohn’s symptoms. This can help reduce the amount of inflammation in your GI tract, and you may find that you need to poop less when you avoid certain foods and eat more specific diets.
There’s no need to wear special pants when you have Crohn’s disease. But people living with this condition may enjoy the ease and comfort of sweatpants.
For dressier events, empire waist styles gather higher around the bust and typically leave the stomach area free from any pressure.
For females, jumpsuits may not be the best fashion choice since they can be hard to get in and out of quickly for bathroom emergencies.
You may also wish to avoid high-waisted pants and skirts if you have Crohn’s disease since bloating and abdominal pain can make these styles uncomfortable.
If you’ve had surgery to remove part of your digestive tract as a result of Crohn’s disease or another condition, you may need to wear an ostomy bag.
An ostomy bag collects the waste that comes from your body through an opening in the abdomen. Your doctors and nurses will help you understand how to clean and change these.
For the millions impacted by IBD (more specifically, Crohn’s disease), bowel movements may have a different color, consistency, and frequency and even include some blood. These changes may be especially noticeable when inflammation in the GI tract is high.
To help minimize the symptoms of Crohn’s disease, including changes to your bowel movements, it’s important to have regular check-ins with your doctor and follow their medication and diet guidance.
You should also notify your doctor when signs like blood in your stool indicate that your Crohn’s disease is flaring up.