Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Also known as: IBD, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease

What is inflammatory bowel disease?

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are several related illnesses that cause chronic inflammation of the gut with swelling and damage of the bowel lining. IBD typically affects young people 15-35 yrs (though children as young as 5yrs of age may develop IBD), and Jewish children seem to be more frequently involved. Areas outside the gut may become inflamed like joints, eyes, skin, and liver. Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease are the two most common conditions classified as inflammatory bowel diseases and similarities, and differences between them exist.

In Ulcerative colitis only the lining of the large gut (colon) becomes inflamed and ulcerates, while Crohn’s affects all the layers of the bowel from mouth to anus. Both may have normal areas of bowel in between the inflamed parts.

What causes inflammatory bowel disease?

The exact cause of inflammatory bowel disease is unclear, however many have a family member with IBD, and it seems that an abnormal immune system with some differences in bowel bacteria noted. Diet and stress can aggravate the symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease.

What are the symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease?

IBD children commonly present with diarrhea and abdominal pain. Other gut symptoms include cramping, loss of appetite, weight loss, growth problems, fever, fatigue and delayed puberty. Symptoms and signs involving inflammation of areas outside of the gut, like joints, eyes, skin, and liver. may also be found.

What are inflammatory bowel disease care options?

While Inflammatory bowel disease does not have a cure, treatments including anti-inflammatory drugs and medications which suppress the immune system can provide significant relief. Surgery to remove damaged portions of the digestive tract may be necessary.


Reviewed by: Juan L Calisto, MD

This page was last updated on: December 18, 2020 05:01 PM

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Crohn's Disease

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