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What is inflammatory bowel disease?

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Inflammatory bowel disease, or IBD, is a group of digestive disorders involving an inflammation of the intestines, according to WebMD. The most common disorders of this type are Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. The former affects any part of the digestive tract. The latter usually affects the colon.

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WebMD further mentions that the causes of IBD are unknown. It is thought that a variety of agents such as antigens, bacteria or viruses triggers the body's immune system to cause inflammation in the intestine. Symptoms of IBD include abdominal cramps, pain, diarrhea with blood, fever, loss of weight and appetite, and a deficiency in iron due to bleeding.

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