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What to know about Crohn’s disease and bowel movements

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Crohn's disease poopHow does Crohn's disease poop look?Increased pooping?Special products for Crohn's diseaseTreatment optionsSummary
Crohn’s disease can cause changes in bowel movements that often present as diarrhea, abdominal pain, and blood or mucus in your poop.
Medically reviewed by Kelsey Trull, PA-C
Written by Rashida Ruwa, RN
Updated on

Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease that can significantly affect bowel movements leading to several distressing symptoms.

Five common symptoms associated with Crohn’s disease include:

  • abdominal pain and cramping
  • diarrhea
  • fatigue
  • unintentional weight loss
  • the presence of blood or mucus in the stool

While the exact cause of Crohn’s disease is not fully understood, experts believe it may involve a combination of genetic, environmental, and immune system factors. They think it occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks the gastrointestinal tract, leading to inflammation. 

Crohn’s disease and bowel movements

A roll of toilet paper on a toilet roll holder depicting Crohn's disease poop
Giada Canu/Stocksy United

Crohn’s disease can significantly affect bowel movements due to the inflammation it causes in the gastrointestinal tract. The characteristics of your poop may vary depending on the location and severity of the inflammation.

You may experience diarrhea, which is a common symptom of Crohn’s disease. Your stool consistency might become loose and watery, and your bowel movements may be more frequent than usual. This change in stool consistency results from the inflammation in your intestines, which disrupts the body’s absorption of water and nutrients.

If strictures or narrow areas develop in your intestines, you may experience constipation and difficulty passing poop. Also, any inflammation or ulcers in the intestinal lining can cause bleeding and mucus production, resulting in poop that appears red or dark and has a slimy consistency.

How does poop look if you have Crohn’s disease?

With Crohn’s disease, the appearance of poop can vary depending on the location and severity of inflammation. Common characteristics of Crohn’s disease poop include:

  • Diarrhea: Loose, watery stools frequently occur with Crohn’s disease, often accompanied by increased bowel movements.
  • Blood in stool: Inflammation and ulcers in the intestines can lead to bleeding, resulting in blood in the stool. It may appear as red streaks or mixed throughout the stool.
  • Mucus in stool: The inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract can cause an overproduction of mucus, which can be visible in the stool. It may appear as a slimy or gel-like substance.
  • Color changes: Stool color can vary from normal to greenish or yellowish due to the rapid transit time through the intestines.

These characteristics can differ from person to person, and not everyone with Crohn’s disease will experience the same stool appearance. If you have concerns about your poop or suspect you may have Crohn’s disease, consider talking with a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate management.

Can Crohn’s make you poop a lot?

Crohn’s disease can cause frequent bowel movements, leading to diarrhea. To manage this symptom, consider working closely with a healthcare professional to develop an individualized treatment plan. 

Your treatment plan may include:

  • taking medications to reduce inflammation
  • adopting a gut-friendly diet 
  • managing your stress levels
  • staying hydrated
  • identifying and avoiding trigger foods 

If you have concerns about your stool or frequent bowel movements, consider talking with a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate management.

Are there special products for people with Crohn’s disease?

There are special products available for people with Crohn’s disease. These include ostomy bags or pouches that collect waste for those who have had surgical interventions, and specialized undergarments designed for comfort and support, offering features like moisture-wicking fabrics and odor control.

Consider talking with your healthcare team, as they can help you explore options and find the right products for your needs.

What are the treatment options?

The treatment options for Crohn’s disease vary based on the severity and location of the condition. These options can include a combination of medications, lifestyle modifications, and, in severe cases, surgery.

Some commonly prescribed medications include:

  • Aminosalicylates (5-ASA): Medications such as sulfasalazine (Azulfidine), mesalamine ER (Delzicol), olsalazine (Dipentum), and balsalazide (Colazal) may help reduce inflammation in the intestines. Aminosalicylates are only approved for use in ulcerative colitis, but healthcare professionals may recommend using them off-label for Crohn’s disease.
  • Steroids: Doctors often prescribe corticosteroids like prednisone (Rayos) and methylprednisolone (Medrol) to reduce inflammation during flare-ups.
  • Immunomodulators: Medications like azathioprine (Imuran), mercaptopurine (6-MP) (Purinethol), cyclosporine (Gengraf, Neoral, Sandimmune), and tacrolimus (Protopic) suppress the immune system and decrease inflammation.
  • Biologics: These medications, including adalimumab (Humira), certolizumab pegol, infliximab (Remicade), natalizumab (Tysabri), risankizumab-rzaa (Skyrizi), ustekinumab (Stelara), and vedolizumab (Entyvio), target specific proteins or immune pathways involved in inflammation.
  • Antibiotics: Sometimes, a doctor may prescribe antibiotics to treat bacterial infections that may occur due to complications or fistulas associated with Crohn’s disease.

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In addition to medications, lifestyle strategies can play an important role in managing Crohn’s disease. These may involve adopting a balanced diet, managing stress levels, getting regular exercise, and avoiding smoking. In some cases, doctors and healthcare professionals may recommend dietary modifications or nutritional supplementation.


Surgery may be necessary in severe cases of Crohn’s disease that do not respond to other treatments or cases that result in complications like strictures or fistulas.

Surgical interventions can involve removing affected portions of the intestines or addressing specific complications to improve symptoms and quality of life.


Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease that can significantly affect bowel movements, leading to symptoms such as diarrhea, abdominal pain, and changes in stool consistency. 

However, by effectively managing Crohn’s disease and its impact on bowel movements through medications, lifestyle modifications, and regular monitoring, you can improve your quality of life and control your symptoms. 

Download the free Optum Perks Discount Card to save up to 80% on some prescription medications.

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