Diarrhea and abdominal pain are usually the first symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease. Symptoms may come and go. People with this disease may sometimes have periods of few or no symptoms.

Many symptoms are related to the inflammation in the digestive system, these include:

  • Persistent diarrhea, often with blood and/or mucous appearing in stools
  • Abdominal cramps and pain
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Mouth sores, as well as sores and abscesses in the anal area (with Crohn disease)

Symptoms caused by the diarrhea and rectal bleeding include:

  • Anemia
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness

Symptoms related to a systemic inflammatory process associated with inflammatory bowel disease may include:


Crohn disease in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:https://www.dynamed.com/condition/crohn-disease-in-adults. Updated May 16, 2018. Accessed December 21, 2018.

Ulcerative colitis in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:https://www.dynamed.com/condition/ulcerative-colitis-in-adults. Updated October 26, 2018. Accessed December 21, 2018.

Last reviewed September 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review BoardDaus Mahnke, MD  Last Updated: 11/24/2020