The most common symptom is diarrhea, sometimes severe enough to require up to 20 trips or more to a toilet a day. Other symptoms include:
- Abdominal cramps
- Bloody stool
- Blocked bowels
- Loss of body fluids
- Loss of appetite
- Extreme weight loss
Many people with IBD also experience such conditions as arthritis and inflammation of the eye, skin and liver. IBD is also considered a major risk factor for developing colorectal cancer.
Children with IBD often suffer from retarded growth and delays in the onset of puberty. The struggle continues into adulthood as patients suffer new bouts with the disease. Once IBD has taken hold, symptoms can flare up without warning. Sufferers constantly worry over when the next episode will strike, how severe it will be and how long it will last.
Causes and Risk Factors
IBD tends to strike early in life, most commonly between the ages of 15 and 25.
About 25% of IBD sufferers have a direct relative who also has the disease.
Jewish Americans are four to five times more likely to develop IBD than the population as a whole.