The inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) are Crohn's disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC). Both of these conditions are caused by inflammation within the gastrointestinal tract, but the inflammation specific to each disease is different. Ulcerative colitis involves only the large intestine (colon), but Crohn's disease occurs throughout the gastrointestinal tract, although it most commonly affects the lower part of the small intestine (ileum). Symptoms of both conditions result from chronic inflammation that extends beyond the lining of the intestines. Complications of both include ulceration within the gastrointestinal tract and bleeding into the gastrointestinal tract. Most of the symptoms of UC can be found in patients with Crohn's disease, but Crohn's disease causes some unique symptoms and conditions not seen in people with UC, like malabsorption and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO).
Other symptoms and signs can include weight loss, pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and fever. Bowel obstruction may occur. Some patients with IBD develop symptoms and complications outside of the intestine (extraintestinal manifestations), such as certain kinds of arthritis, rashes, eye problems, and liver disease.
Causes of inflammatory bowel disease
The cause of inflammatory bowel disease is poorly understood. These diseases are thought to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors (for example, infections) that interact with the body's immune (defense) system. An abnormal activation of the immune system is believed to play a role in the development of the conditions.
Other inflammatory bowel disease symptoms and signs
- Abdominal Cramping
- Abdominal Pain
- Anal Fissure
- Back Pain
- Blood in Stool
- Bloody Diarrhea
- Burning Eyes
- Eye Pain
- Joint Pain
- Joint Swelling
- Loss of Appetite
- Mouth Ulcers
- Muscle Pain
- Night Sweats
- Pale Skin
- Rectal Bleeding
- Rectal Pain
- Red Nodules on the Skin
- Reddened Eyes
- Tender Nodules Beneath the Skin
- Weight Loss
Main Article on Inflammatory Bowel Disease Symptoms and Signs
Pictures, Images, Illustrations & Quizzes
Crohn's Disease Quiz
What causes Crohn's disease? What are the symptoms of Crohn's disease? How is Crohn's treated? Take this quiz to get the facts...
Crohn's Disease: Symptoms, Causes, Diet
What is Crohn's disease? Get more information on this digestive disorder and how Crohn's can affect your diet. Learn more about...
Digestive Disorders: Common Misconceptions
Learn about the digestive system and common misconceptions of digestive disorders. Read about what causes ulcers, heartburn,...
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Causes, Symptoms, Treatment
What is inflammatory bowel disease? IBD can include Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Learn more about testing, treatments,...
Pelvic Pain: What's Causing Your Pelvic Pain?
There are many causes of pelvic pain in women including cysts, PMS, appendicitis, and bladder infections. Pelvic pain has...
Ulcerative Colitis Quiz: Diet, Symptoms & Treatment
What is ulcerative colitis and what risks are associated with suffering over the long term? Take this Ulcerative Colitis Quiz to...
Ulcerative Colitis Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment
Ulcerative Colitis is a form of inflammatory bowel disease and is slightly different than Crohn's disease. Your diet can impact...
Examples of Medications for Inflammatory Bowel Disease Symptoms and Signs
- adalimumab (Humira)
- azathioprine (Azasan)
- balsalazide disodium (Colazal, Giazo)
- budesonide (Entocort EC, Uceris)
- certolizumab (Cimzia)
- Cipro, Cipro XR (ciprofloxacin) Antibiotic Side Effects
- Corticosteroids (Systemic, Oral, Injections, Types)
- cyclosporine - intravenous, Sandimmune
- cyclosporine - oral, Sandimmune
- cyclosporine microemulsion capsule - oral, Gengraf, Neoral
- cyclosporine microemulsion solution - oral, Gengraf, Neoral
- cyclosporine solution - oral, Sandimmune
- infliximab (Remicade)
- mercaptopurine - oral, Purinethol
- mesalamine (Pentasa, Rowasa, SfRowasa, Lialda, Canasa, Apriso, Delzicol)
- methotrexate (Rheumatrex, Trexall)
- metronidazole (Flagyl, Flagyl ER) Antibiotic
- natalizumab - injection, Tysabri
- olsalazine (Dipentum)
- sulfasalazine (Azulfidine)
Subscribe to MedicineNet's General Health Newsletter