As of 2015, the cause of inflammatory bowel disease unknown, but physicians and researchers suspect that an immune system malfunction or family history of the condition may trigger symptoms, according to Mayo Clinic. Stress and diet can worsen or aggravate symptoms associated with inflammatory bowels.
Factors such as age, race or ethnicity, and the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications can increase the risk of symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease, explains Mayo Clinic. Lifestyle habits, such as cigarette smoking, also increase the risk of symptoms. People who live in urban or industrialized areas are more likely to experience inflammatory bowel symptoms, as are individuals who eat a diet high in refined foods and fat.
Symptoms of inflammatory bowel conditions are similar to Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, according to Mayo Clinic. Patients commonly experience diarrhea, fatigue, fever, and abdominal pain and cramping. Additional symptoms may include blood in the stool, reduced appetite and unintentional weight loss. Individuals with inflammatory bowel symptoms are at risk for malnourishment because their ability to absorb and digest food is significantly impaired.
Physicians often treat the symptoms of inflammatory bowels with antibiotics, anti-diarrheal medications, pain relievers and nutrition plans, according to Mayo Clinic. In severe cases of inflammatory bowel disease, surgery may be necessary.