As college entrance exam season begins, many young people find themselves suffering from constipation or diarrhea due to the stress they are facing. However, doctors say diarrhea could also be a symptom of more serious disorders.
A 22-year-old college student surnamed Wang (王) said that she suffered from abdominal pain and rectal bleeding before her entrance exam, causing her to take sick leave for four days.
It took two years before she was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which was finally cured with food therapy and medical treatment.
Chiu Cheng-tang (邱正堂), a Chang Gung Memorial Hospital physician, said that Crohn’s disease is another common IBD.
Chiu said previously it was believed that Caucasians mostly suffered Crohn’s, but in recent decades, there has been a growing number of Taiwanese diagnosed with IBDs.
Tu Chia-hung (涂佳宏), a gastroenterologist at National Taiwan University Hospital, said it is not clear how IBDs are triggered, with possible causes including genes, smoking and immune system disorders. An IBD may last for years or even decades, he added.
Tu said that if diarrhea occurs repeatedly over a long time, and is accompanied by fever, weight loss, rectal bleeding, nausea, vomiting or pain in the joints; sufferers should consult a doctor.