Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) | Symptoms and Causes

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Contact the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center

  • 1-617-355-6058
  • International: +01-617-355-5209

What are the symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease?

The symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) depend on the individual child but may include:

  • diarrhea, especially if bloody
  • obvious blood in the stools or black, tar-like stools
  • abdominal pain
  • fatigue
  • weakness
  • weight loss
  • loss of appetite
  • rectal bleeding
  • loss of body fluids and nutrients
  • anemia caused by severe bleeding
  • unexplained fevers
  • vomiting

Sometimes children also experience:

  • joint pain
  • inflammation of the eyes
  • liver disorders
  • osteoporosis
  • rashes
  • kidney stones
  • mouth ulcers

IBD typically includes periods of remission (when no symptoms occur) and flare-ups (recurrence of one or more of the symptoms that originally led your child to be diagnosed with IBD, such as diarrhea, rectal bleeding and cramping). Most people with IBD experience occasional flares.

What causes inflammatory bowel disease?

The causes of IBD are still unclear but likely include a combination of genetic and environmental factors with immune system dysfunction.


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Boston Children's Hospital
300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115
For Patients: 617-355-6000
For Referring Providers: 844-BCH-PEDS | 844-224-7337

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