Inflammatory bowel disease is a disorder that involve chronic inflammation of the digestive tract. Types of IBD include:
- Ulcerative colitis – Causes inflammation and sores (ulcers) in the lining of the large intestine (colon) and rectum.
- Crohn’s disease – Causes inflammation of the lining of your digestive tract from the mouth to the anus.
Both ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease usually involve severe diarrhea, abdominal pain, fatigue and weight loss. Signs and symptoms that are common to both Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis include:
- Fever and fatigue
- Abdominal pain and cramping
- Blood in the stool
- Decreased appetite
- Unintentional weight loss
The exact cause of inflammatory bowel disease remains unknown. Previously, diet and stress were suspected, but now doctors know that these factors may aggravate but don’t cause IBD. One possible cause is an immune system malfunction.
IBD can lead to multiple complications including colon cancer; inflammation of other organs including the skin, eyes and joints; bowel obstruction; malnutrition and fistulas.
Diagnosis of this condition can be made through a careful history of physical examination, the use of blood work, X-rays and endoscopy or colonoscopy with biopsy