Crohn's and Low Potassium

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Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2011
Total Posts : 40
   Posted 8/2/2011 5:35 PM (GMT -7)   
Hello everyone, 
    I have been getting HORRIBLE Charlie horse leg cramps every night (mainly my right leg) for the past month and a half now.  Initially, I thought I had a clot from my birth control. After a visit to my physician and a negative leg ultrasound, bloodwork done showed low potassium. I heard it is common in people with Crohn's. I have to take a potassium supplement daily now until my levels are rechecked. Anyone else have a similar story?  I am 26 and scared I am not getting the proper nutrients I should be getting. My Crohn's is still basically unregulated (on Entocort, Asacol, Colon Health Probiotics).

Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2009
Total Posts : 1680
   Posted 8/2/2011 5:54 PM (GMT -7)   
When I get those bad leg cramps, I am usually low on Magnesium. Did they check your magnesium level? You may want to google magnesium and potassium. It will explain the correlation between low magnesium and potassium. has a good article explaining how one follows the other!

Good luck!
Dx:Ulcerative Colitis March 2008
Dx: Crohns May 2008

No surgeries yet but I am desperately trying to keep my colon.
8 blood transfusions, SVT due to low H&H, Anxiety during new medication injections due to past reactions.
Been through MANY medications with mixed results
Currently on Lialda, Ambien (prn), xanax(prn) Bee Propolis 500mg twice per day. Rowasa

Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2011
Total Posts : 137
   Posted 8/2/2011 5:56 PM (GMT -7)   
I have to take supplements for potassium, B12, D, niacin. I had horrible leg cramps too. Have you had your D level checked? I feel much better when I can manage to get my D close to a normal range. Hope those leg cramps stay away! They can be brutal!
55 yr F Dx 2/11 w/ crohns, and crohns related arthritis. Dx for fibro 7/11
~pentasa, prednisone almost finished with my taper, methotrexate injections weekly, folic acid, remicade every 6 weeks, fish oil, vitamin D, Biotin, probiotics, the occasional Xanax, hydrocodone PRN ~atenlol for high blood pressure, levothyroxine for hypothyroidism, requip for restless leg syndrome. Cymbalta for fibro.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2011
Total Posts : 1059
   Posted 8/3/2011 4:19 AM (GMT -7)   
I sometimes have low potassium due to the ileostomy I have. I just take sando K tablets that dissolve in water each day and then have it rechecked after 2 weeks and normally it is fine again. Funnily enough I don't get any symptoms with the low potassium.
Crohn's dx 1989, loop ileo 1992, end ileo 1992. Arthritis developed 1990 Stoma abcess 1995. Azathioprine started 1995. Panprocolorectomy 1999. Stillbirth 2000, antiphospholipid syndrome dx 2000. Flare up 2004, stoma abcess and strictoplasty 2004. Low blood pressure dx with impaired kidney function 2006, fludrocortisone pres. flare up 2010, steroids, Humira, codeine.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2006
Total Posts : 3141
   Posted 8/3/2011 4:31 AM (GMT -7)   
I get those wicked leg cramps too. I also notice my upper back/shoulder area tends to lock up when i am low on potassium. I will have to check out the magnesium thing pmedic mentioned as potassium alone has always worked so far, but I like to add regular nutrients if thye help.
Sometimes I can get away with just adding a jar of baby food bananas daily for a while and I seem to absorb enough K from that. I am really bad about remembering to take pills so I try to add the bananas to stave off the cramps.
Oh and if the cramps do hit you before you get back to supplements....I found a warm wet washcloth on the worst cramping part of my leg seems to give some relief especially whe n they wake me form a sound sleep.
Still holding on with just Pentasa! Doc says most of my problems are side effects of my resection ('91) and my disease is doing GREAT and no sign of a repeat fistula. Meds now to control the lack of TI and happy to be out and about.

Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2011
Total Posts : 40
   Posted 8/3/2011 2:23 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks everyone for the reply.

I am assuming all those other levels were checked (I think a basic metabolic profile was done, normal back in March). I try to take a multi-vitamin too. I sometimes fear I don't get enough vitamin D, I think the only vitamin checked were my b or b12 levels months ago. I try to eat bananas daily (or frequently) and that just wasn't cutting it. My doctor prescribed potassium capsules. There's a difference in my muscle cramps/charlie horses already.

And thanks for the link pmedic- I shall check it out!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 3061
   Posted 8/3/2011 2:32 PM (GMT -7)   
I sometimes fear I don't get enough vitamin D, I think the only vitamin checked were my b or b12 levels months ago

You should insist that you get your blood levels of vitamin D checked, as well as folic acid and B12, during your next blood work. Most people will find that their D levels are way too low.
Male/59 DX ulcerative colitis Feb08, possible Crohn's colitis DX Mar10.
No Meds, allergic to Mesalamine. Remission since Mar10. Psyllium seed mixed with VSL3 especially helpful. Food journal instead of SCD.

Watch gluten, lots of fruit & vegetables (but no plums or kale), no soda, no HFCS, no trans fat, tea instead of coffee, no shellfish, few processed foods, no carrageenan.
Probiotics, multivitamin, extra D3, K2, high gamma E, fish oil, glutamine, magnesium, phos choline, resveratrol, S. Boulardii, boswellia, curcumin.
Nature created all of the locks, therefore Nature has all of the keys
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