Additional Problems

Additional Problems Associated with IBD

Although IBD is primarily identified as being a disease of the digestive tract, it can be systemic, affecting nearly any organ in the body. These effects are commonly referred to as extraintestinal or non-intestinal symptoms. These symptoms are not uncommon, with 20-45% of individuals experiencing some form of extraintestinal symptom. See below for a summary of these symptoms:


  • Arthritis/arthralgia: pain and swelling of the joints that can affect range of motion. Canfollow the pattern of gastrointestinal inflammation (i.e., appearing and disappearing with gut symptoms) or occur independently of gut inflammation.
  • Ankylosing spondylitis: arthritis of the spinal joints causing pain, stiffness and reduced flexibility/movement of the spine. Often occurring independently of gastrointestinal inflammation.



  • Erythema nodosum: tender red bumps of the skin, typically appearing on the lower parts of the body (e.g., shins, ankles). More common among females. Symptoms usually follow the course of gastrointestinal inflammation.
  • Pyoderma gangrenosum:a rarer symptom involving painful, pus-filled lesions on the skin that eventually form deep ulcers. Symptoms usually follow the course of gastrointestinal inflammation.



  • Episcleritis: a painful inflammation of the episclera, the thin, clear outer layer that covers the white part of the eye. Episcleritis causes the eye to become red, irritated and tender.
  • Uveitis: inflammation of the middle layer of the eye (uvea). Uveitis can cause pain, blurred vision, redness and sensitivity to light.



  • Fatty liver disease: Also known as hepatic steatosis. Fatty liver disease is usually a relatively minor liver complication of IBD. It occurs when abnormal liver metabolism causes a build-up of fat in the liver.Symptoms can include fatigue, abdominal swelling (ascites), Abdominal swelling (ascites) and pain, red palms, weight loss.
  • Primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC): involves inflammation of the liverand gallbladder resulting in restricted flow of bile. Symptoms include yellowing of the skin (jaundice), fatigue, dark urine, weight loss.



  • Anaemia:low red blood cell count. Symptoms include fatigue, weakness, increased heart rate, shortness of breath.
  • Thrombocytosis:abnormally high level of platelets in the blood.Symptoms can include: Dizziness or light-headedness, weakness, headache, chest pain, and/or numbness or tingling of the hands and feet.



  • Lung disease: inflammation that canoccur in various areas throughout the pulmonary system. Symptoms can include persistent coughing and shortness of breath.


Kidneys and Urinary Tract

  • Kidney stones (Nephrolithiasis): the inability to properly absorb fats allows for the accumulation of oxalate in the kidneys, eventually forming stones. Can cause significant pain, as well as nausea, vomiting.
  • Amyloidosis: condition where the protein amyloid accumulates throughout the tissues and organs of the body. Signs and symptoms vary depending on the affected area.