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Diarrhea and abdominal pain are usually the first symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease. Symptoms may come and go. People with this disease may sometimes have periods of few or no symptoms.

Many symptoms are related to the inflammation in the digestive system, these include:

  • Persistent diarrhea, often with blood and/or mucous appearing in stools
  • Abdominal cramps and pain
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Mouth sores, as well as sores and abscesses in the anal area (with Crohn’s disease)

Symptoms caused by the diarrhea and rectal bleeding include:

  • Anemia
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness

Symptoms related to a system-wide inflammatory process associated with inflammatory bowel disease may include:

  • Fever
  • Arthritis
  • Skin rashes
  • Eye pain or inflammation
  • Kidney stones
  • Other system-wide conditions


Crohn's disease in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Updated August 17, 2015. Accessed October 1, 2015.

Ulcerative colitis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Updated August 21, 2015. Accessed October 1, 2015.

Last reviewed September 2015 by Daus Mahnke, MD

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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