How are symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) associated with inflammatory damage?

Updated: Apr 10, 2020
  • Author: William A Rowe, MD; Chief Editor: BS Anand, MD  more...
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The World Gastroenterology Organization (WGO) indicates the following symptoms may be associated with inflammatory damage in the digestive tract [1] :

  • Diarrhea: mucus or blood may be present in the stool; can occur at night; incontinence may occur

  • Constipation: this may be the primary symptom in ulcerative colitis, when the disease is limited to the rectum; obstipation may occur and may proceed to bowel obstruction

  • Bowel movement abnormalities: pain or rectal bleeding may be present, as well as severe urgency and tenesmus

  • Abdominal cramping and pain: commonly present in the right lower quadrant in Crohn disease; occur periumbilically or in the left lower quadrant in moderate to severe ulcerative colitis

  • Nausea and vomiting: occurs more often in Crohn disease than in ulcerative colitis

Other considerations include a family history of IBD, celiac disease, or colorectal cancer; the use of medications such as antibiotics and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs); the presence of mood disorders; the use of tobacco; and recent travel. [1]

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