5 Signs of Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) includes diseases like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. These conditions cause redness, swelling, and pain in your intestines.

If you have IBD, you need expert care from a board-certified gastroenterologist like Bharat Pothuri, MD, of GastroDoxs. The following signs are a good indication you may be suffering from a form of IBD and should schedule an appointment at our office in Houston, Texas, right away. We can help you get relief and provide treatment to prevent worsening of your condition.

1.    Chronic diarrhea

A bout of diarrhea once in a while can be chalked up to a virus or food poisoning, but chronic watery stools is something to be concerned about. Your diarrhea may range in severity from mild to severe. It may be at its worst when you’re experiencing a major flare-up of IBD.

For people with Crohn’s disease, diarrhea is usually watery. Both ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn’s disease can cause bloody diarrhea or fecal urgency, in which you’re unable to control your bowel movements.

2.    Loss of appetite

People with IBD often feel less hungry than normal. They may have food aversions, as they associate eating with diarrhea, stomach distress, and pain.

IBD can also change up the balance of hunger hormones like ghrelin and leptin. You end up with an abundance of the hormones that make you feel full, so you naturally eat less as a result.

People with IBD can also develop depression, which can interfere with your appetite.

3.    Rectal bleeding

Rectal bleeding can show up as black stools, bright red streaks in your stools, or blood on the toilet paper after your wipe.

Black stools mean there’s bleeding higher up in the digestive tract which is associated with Crohn’s disease. Rectal bleeding is more common in people with ulcerative colitis. With UC, the bleeding occurs due to inflammation in the last part of the small intestine, colon, or rectum, causing bright red blood to appear.

4.    Severe abdominal cramps

While abdominal cramps can occur with any IBD, they’re most often associated with Crohn’s disease. Pain and tenderness may be present around the belly button or on the lower right side of the abdomen.

Cramps often occur within an hour or two of meals, but can also happen without any clear cause.

5.    Fatigue

Fatigue is prevalent in IBD. It’s the second most common symptom reported in people with Crohn’s disease and occurs in a third of people with ulcerative colitis. Fatigue mjay be prevalent when you have an active flare-up and even when you’re in remission.

IBD causes an overwhelming sense of tiredness or weakness. Fatigue makes you feel exhausted, thus interfering with work and school. You can’t seem to feel rested, no matter how much you sleep.

Fatigue may be partly due to the depression that’s associated with IBD, but it may also occur because of nutrient deficiencies or difficulty sleeping because of symptoms.

If you have symptoms that suggest IBD, don’t hesitate to contact us at GastroDoxs. We’re ready to help you manage your condition and improve your quality of life. 

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