entire digestive system next to a colon

Signs and Symptoms

Editor’s note: For World IBD Day 2019, community members submitted questions for Dr. Nandi. This video was recorded by Dr. Nandi on World IBD Day and was published at a later date.

One of the questions asked by the community was “What are the signs and symptoms of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis and how do I know if I have them?”

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is more common than you’d think. Crohn’s affects anywhere from the mouth to the rectum, causing ulcers of the intestine. It can often present with abdominal pain, malnutrition, malabsorption, and diarrhea, but all of these symptoms are not always present.

Ulcerative colitis only affects the large intestine. The hallmark symptom of ulcerative colitis is bloody diarrhea. Tenesmus is also very common, causing rectal pressure, urgency, and a sense of incomplete evacuation.

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