Inflammatory bowel disease or IBD is a blanket term that is used to refer to a number of health disorders that involves prolonged inflammation of the digestive system of a person. Most common types of inflammatory bowel diseases include:

Ulcerative colitis – In this condition, the affected person is likely to suffer from long-lasting sores or ulcers and inflammation in the rectum and colon, which is the innermost lining in the large intestine.

Crohn’s disease – This type of bowel inflammation disease is characterized by the inflammation in the digestive tract lining. Note that this inflammation is likely to spread deep into the tissues.

The red flags that indicate both these chronic inflammation disorders are abdominal pain, sudden weight loss without any reason, fatigue, and severe diarrhea. While some IBD’s are less severe and can be tackled with proper medications, some diseases are life-threatening. Furthermore, the chances of women getting affected by IBD are more when compared to men. In addition, this condition may get worse during the menstrual period and may pose some serious complications in pregnancy.

The Symptoms

The symptoms exhibited by the people affected by inflammatory bowel disease tend to vary depending on the severity as well as the location of the inflammation. Similarly, these symptoms may range from trivial to severe. Note that an affected person may experience periods of remission following episodes of excruciating pain and active illness. Anyhow, some of the basic red flags that indicate inflammatory bowel disease are listed below.

  • Diarrhea
  • Blood in the stool
  • Fever and fatigue
  • Abdominal cramping and pain
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Loss of appetite

If you experience any of these symptoms or some unusual bowel habits, it is recommended to consult a doctor right away. Even though most inflammatory bowel conditions are not fatal, some conditions may pose life-threatening risks, as mentioned earlier.


Unfortunately, the exact cause of inflammatory bowel disease is not yet discovered. Previously, a strict diet and high-stress level were considered the reason behind this health condition. However, it is now confirmed that these factors only aggravate the health condition, but doesn’t cause it.

Most primary health specialists claim that an immune system malfunction may result in IBD. When a virus or bacteria enters our body, it will trigger the immune system, which will prevent these microbes from invading the body. Sometimes a faulty immune response can trigger the immune system to attack the cells in the digestive system of a person leading to inflammatory bowel disease.

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    About the Author

    Dr. Ghassan M. Al-Jazayrly, MD

    A graduate of University of Aleppo Faculty of Medicine, Dr. Al-Jazayrly or, as he is colloquially known: Dr. AJ, is an oncologist and hematologist of a Complete Care Community Health Center (CCCHC) with more than 36 years of experience. In recent years, he’s been involved with a non profit organization known as Every Woman Counts (EWC) which provides free breast and cervical cancer screening and diagnostic services to California’s underserved populations in order to eliminate health disparities for low-income individuals.

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