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Symptoms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease

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Diarrhea and abdominal pain are usually the first symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease. Symptoms may come and go. People with this disease may sometimes have periods of few or no symptoms.

Many symptoms are related to the inflammation in the digestive system, these include:

  • Persistent diarrhea, often with blood and/or mucous appearing in stools
  • Abdominal cramps and pain
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Mouth sores as well as sores and abscesses in the anal area (with Crohn’s disease)

Symptoms caused by the diarrhea and rectal bleeding include:

  • Anemia
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness

Symptoms related to a system-wide inflammatory process associated with inflammatory bowel disease may include:

  • Fever
  • Arthritis
  • Skin rashes
  • Eye pain or inflammation
  • Kidney stones
  • Other system-wide conditions

Revision Information

  • Reviewer: Daus Mahnke, MD
  • Review Date: 09/2014 -
  • Update Date: 09/17/2014 -
  • American Gastroenterological Association website. Available at: http://www.gastro.org. Accessed March 6, 2006.

  • Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America website. Available at: http://www.ccfa.org. Accessed March 6, 2006.

  • National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse website. Available at: http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov. Accessed March 6, 2006.

  • Primary Care Medicine. 4th ed. Lippincott Williams and Wilkins; 2000.

  • Rakel RE, Bope ET. Conn's Current Therapy 2001. 53rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: W.B. Saunders Company; 2001.