Overview

This condition describes disorders that can cause the intestines to become irritated and swollen. Inflammatory bowel disease is an umbrella term that covers conditions marked by inflammation of the colon. These include ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, and microscopic colitis.

Causes

The exact causes of inflammatory bowel disease are unknown. The condition may be caused by a combination of genetic factors and intestinal infections that cause the body's immune system to overcompensate and inflame the bowels. 

Symptoms

Patients with inflammatory bowel disease may suffer from abdominal cramps or pain, diarrhea or constipation, blood in the stool, or unexplained weight loss.

Treatment

Treatment for inflammatory bowel disease depends on type and severity. Each patient’s individual diagnosis will have more specific information about future treatment. Severe complications may require hospitalization or surgery.