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There are a wide variety of gastrointestinal diseases, all of which can produce uncomfortable symptoms to alert the sufferer to their presence. While many of the diseases share similar symptoms, there are a few key differences you can look for to determine which illness plagues your body.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome is also known as spastic colon, irritable colon, or nervous stomach, and can be brought on by emotional stress, medications, and even certain foods. This is a particularly common gastrointestinal issue. The symptoms of IBS include cramps and abdominal pain, bloating, gas, and a change in bowel habits. Frequently, sufferers of IBS alternate between constipation and diarrhea.
Anal Fissures are a particularly painful condition--in fact one of the most painful gastrointestinal situations a person can experience. These consist of a crack in the anal lining, which exposes the muscle tissue beneath. Sufferers of anal fissures experience intense burning pain, bleeding, and even spasming after bowl movements when the muscle tissues are irritated by the exposure to air and feces.
A fistula is an abnormal passageway from the anal canal to an opening in the skin near the anus, similar to a tube. They typically form after an abscess is drained. When bodily wastes are diverted through the abnormal opening, it can cause irritation and itching at the site. Other symptoms include pain, bleeding, and drainage.
Colitis is an inflammation of the bowel, and has many different forms. However, the symptoms are mostly the same for the different types of colitis. Sufferers of any form can expect to experience abdominal cramps, rectal bleeding, diarrhea, and the frequent and immediate need to empty the bowels.
Many of the symptoms of Crohn's disease appear to have no relation to the disease itself. It's a gastrointestinal disorder, but tends to affect all of the body's systems. Early symptoms may include skin lesions, canker sores, and ulcers. Further strange symptoms include muscular pains, eye disorders, and hindered growth. However, there are normal gastrointestinal symptoms, as well. Patients with Crohn's disease often experience diarrhea, sometimes accompanied by thick, dark blood. If the blood is bright red, it is a different condition entirely. Patients may also have cramps, aches, and even sharp pains in the affected region. Being that Crohn's is an inflammatory condition, it could also be accompanied by fever.