Bowel disease is actually several different diseases and conditions involving the digestive tract. Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) includes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, both conditions caused by inflammation of all or part of the digestive tract. Other bowel conditions include colonic polyps, diverticulitis and diverticulosis, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and intestinal obstruction. There are no known cures for IBD or IBS and the exact cause of these diseases is unknown.
Symptoms of bowel disease
- Abdominal pain and cramping
- Blood in your stool
- Fever and fatigue
- Reduced appetite
- Unintended weight loss
Symptoms, which can range from mild to severe, will vary depending on the severity of inflammation and where it occurs. Individuals diagnosed with IBD or IBS are likely to experience periods of active illness and periods of remission. Inflammatory bowel disease usually isn’t fatal, but it is serious enough to cause life-threatening complications in some cases.
The worst complications include colon cancer, blood clots, bowel obstruction, ulcers, perforated colon, malnutrition and severe dehydration from excessive diarrhea.