Inflammatory Bowel Disease | Symptoms

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What are the symptoms of Crohn’s disease?

The symptoms of Crohn’s disease vary, depending on which part or parts of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract is affected. Common symptoms include the following:

  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach cramps
  • Abdominal pain that comes and goes
  • Blood in your stool
  • Low appetite
  • Unintended weight loss

Other less common symptoms may include fever, joint pain, eye problems, skin problems, and feeling tired (called fatigue). The symptoms of Crohn’s disease may be mild or severe. Symptoms may also come and go. They can start suddenly or gradually.

What are the symptoms of ulcerative colitis?

Symptoms of ulcerative colitis vary depending on how severe your case is and how much of your large intestine is affected. Common symptoms include the following:

  • Rectal pain or bleeding
  • Frequent, small bowel movements
  • Feeling an urgent need to have a bowel movement
  • Diarrhea
  • Blood in the stool
  • Abdominal cramping and pain
  • A strong feeling that you need to have a bowel movement, but not being able to do so (called tenesmus)
  • Pain on the left side of the abdomen
  • Unintended weight loss
  • Fatigue

In most people who have ulcerative colitis, these symptoms tend to come and go. You may have periods where you have no symptoms, followed by periods where you do have symptoms.

Bibliography

See a list of resources used in the development of this information.

Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff

Reviewed/Updated: 05/14
Created: 01/98

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