What is Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD?)

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) refers to a group of diseases that cause inflammation and ulceration of the intestines.  The TYPES of IBD include Crohn’s disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC).  IBD is a multifactorial disease, meaning there are many factors thought to lead to a person developing the disease.   IBD is a chronic disease, with no cure at this time.  Researchers around the world continue to study the causes or risk factors for IBD, as well as treatments for IBD.  Most people with IBD take MEDICATIONS to control the inflammation.  Some patients need SURGERY to remove diseased portions of their intestines or to manage complications of IBD such as strictures or fistulas.

IBD is not the same as IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) although people with IBD can have IBS as well.  IBS does not have the inflammation and ulceration that IBD has, although people with IBS can have similar symptoms of cramps, diarrhea, constipation.  People with IBS however should not have the red alarm symptoms of blood from the rectum, or weight loss.

IBD is not microscopic colitis.  Microscopic colitis is by definition not visible to the eye on endoscopy – it is diagnosed by the pathology (samples taken at endoscopy). Microscopic colitis does not have the inflammation and ulceration that IBD has, although people with microscopic colitis have diarrhea as the main symptom.

Click here for a short animated video by Dr Evans on what is IBD.

Click here for more information on each IBD disease type, and on the G.E.M. concept.

For more understanding on why we need to understand IBD and how it affects people’s lives, watch patient advocate Sara Ringer’s video.