Presse Santé

these skin signs

Crohn’s disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It is a chronic, or chronic, condition that results in inflammation of the digestive tract. It can also cause skin problems, such as rashes. About 40% of people with Crohn’s disease have indigestion symptoms, which usually affect the skin. In about 25% of cases, these symptoms appear before the person is diagnosed or even before they experience digestive symptoms. In this article, we describe and explain the skin symptoms of Crohn’s disease by type.

Crohn’s disease of the skin

A rash common to Crohn’s disease causes red skin lesions with chronic inflammation. The rash can look like inflamed blisters, which can appear in groups or as a lesion.

Erythema nodosum

One of the most common causes of Crohn’s disease is erythema nodosum. It can cause painful, swollen bumps that appear on the red skin, and usually develop on the legs, usually below the knee. This rash has many possible causes, including bacterial and viral infections. So it is important to consult a doctor to get the correct diagnosis.
Other skin diseases

Here are other types of skin rashes and symptoms that people with Crohn’s disease may develop:

– Skin “tags”.

These are small growths of excess skin that can be flesh-colored, pink, or darker than the skin. Some people think they look like moles. They are more common in places where there is a lot of friction, such as the genital area.

– Vasculitis

This group of diseases refers to a type of inflammation of the blood vessels that can cause patches of redness on the skin.

– Pyoderma gangrenosum

This skin condition is common in people with Crohn’s disease who have skin disorders. This causes painful, inflamed blisters that can break open and become ulcers. They always get bigger over time.

– Injuries related to taking medicine

Some people develop blisters on their skin as a side effect of treatment for Crohn’s disease. This is because the treatment weakens the immune system, which increases the risk of skin infections.

– Mouth ulcers

Some people with Crohn’s disease have blisters or sores in the mouth. Some have gum disease. About 10% of people with the disease have oral skin problems.

– Vitiligo

IBD can sometimes cause vitiligo, which is a loss of skin pigment.

– Psoriasis

This condition causes peeling, itching, redness or swelling of the skin. For most Crohn’s disease skin lesions, treatment focuses on reducing the inflammation associated with Crohn’s disease using disease-modifying agents, such as biologic drugs.
In some cases, a person may need additional treatment, such as dental care, removal of skin tags, or antibiotic treatment for an infected blister.

Vulvar Crohn’s disease

It is rare for Crohn’s disease to affect the vulva or vagina, but it is possible.
When this happens, a person may notice the following:

– swelling of the lips
– skin growth called a fistula
– blisters, sores or painful sores in the vagina
– skin folds

Doctors treat this condition with medication to control the inflammation caused by Crohn’s disease. A doctor may also perform surgery to remove painful or large skin growths.

Anal Crohn’s disease

Perianal Crohn’s disease means that a person has inflammation in or around the anus.
Here are some examples of symptoms a person may experience:

– Abscesses: Some people have small pockets of infection. An abscess can look like a very swollen pimple or feel like a painful lump under the skin.

– Fissures: A fissure is a tear in the skin of the anus. This can cause symptoms similar to hemorrhoids, such as pain and bleeding. A person may notice a patch of red skin, but it may also be too deep in the anus to be invisible.

– Stenosis: Sometimes inflammation due to Crohn’s disease makes the anus very narrow. A person may notice that their anus feels small, tight, or unusual, and that it is painful or impossible to pass stool.

Anal skin tags

Some people with Crohn’s disease develop anal skin tags.
Skin bumps look like fleshy, loose bumps. It can be as small as a freckle or larger than the tip of a pencil eraser. It can be skin-colored, but darker or lighter than a person’s skin. Skin tags are nothing to worry about. However, they can stick to clothing or other objects and bleed or become infected as a result. As with cutaneous Crohn’s disease, treatment focuses on reducing the inflammation caused by the disease and treating any infections. A doctor can also remove skin tags.

Orofacial Crohn’s disease

Orofacial Crohn’s disease affects the face, mouth, or both. It may be more common in children than in adults.

Some symptoms are:

– deep and painful mouth sores
– swollen lips that crack and bleed
– swollen gums
– Crohn’s rash on the face, like clusters of blisters or dots.

Anti-inflammatory treatments for Crohn’s disease can be effective. Doctors may also recommend prescription mouthwashes, special diets, or additional dental care to prevent serious gum health issues.

Crohn’s disease and bowel movements

Crohn’s disease causes inflammation of the intestines and digestive tract. This makes it difficult for the body to absorb nutrients from food. Stool changes that a person may notice, especially during a Crohn’s disease flare-up, include:

– Dirty water: Greater difficulty absorbing water and nutrients can lead to diarrhea. A person may have more frequent or looser bowel movements.

– Constipation: Inflammation, especially in the anus and rectum, makes it difficult to pass stool. This can lead to constipation. A person may notice that their stools are very hard or come out in small lumps.

– Presence of blood in the stool: Anal fissures or constipation can cause signs of red blood in the stool. Dark, tarry stools indicate that a person may have bleeding in the upper gastrointestinal tract, which is a medical emergency.

– Oily stools: When the body is unable to absorb nutrients such as fat, a person’s stools may be oilier or more viscous than usual.

When to contact a doctor

Crohn’s disease can be treated. However, if left untreated, it can lead to serious complications.
A person should contact a doctor if:

– he has symptoms of Crohn’s disease, such as frequent diarrhea or abdominal pain
– new symptoms of Crohn’s disease appear
– you think you have a skin infection
– they cannot eat or drink without severe diarrhea.


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Bernett, CN, and others. (2021). Crohn’s disease.

de Zoeten, EF, and others. (2013). Diagnosis and treatment of perianal Crohn’s disease.

Diagnosis of Crohn’s disease. (2017).

Hafsi, W., and others. (2020). Erythema nodosum.

Heymann, WR (2017). Understanding the association of orofacial granulomatosis and Crohn’s disease can be confusing.

* Presse Santé strives to transmit health knowledge in a language that everyone can use. In NO CASE, the information provided is a substitute for the advice of a health professional.

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