Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is swelling and irritation of the intestines. This can cause a range of symptoms including abdominal discomfort and problems breaking down food. Two forms of IBD are: IBD is a lifelong illness. The symptoms may be constant or occur during flare-ups. There is no cure for IBD but treatments can help control symptoms.

  • Causes

    The exact cause of IBD is not known. Some believe IBD may be the result of:

    • Inherited genetics (may be a family history of IBD)
    • Reaction to a virus or bacteria that damages the colon and rectum
    • Compromised immune system or infection that affects the immune system

  • Definition

    Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is swelling and irritation of the intestines. This can cause a range of symptoms including abdominal discomfort and problems breaking down food. Two forms of IBD are:

    • Crohn's disease
    • Ulcerative colitis

    IBD is a lifelong illness. The symptoms may be constant or occur during flare-ups. There is no cure for IBD but treatments can help control symptoms.

  • Diagnosis

    Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Your doctor may need images of the intestines to look for swelling and irritation or other conditions. Image may be taken with:

    • Upper GI endoscopy
    • Colonoscopy
    • Barium enema
    • X-ray
    • Capsule endoscopy

    Your doctor may also look for signs of infection through:

    • Blood tests
    • Stool culture
    Colonoscopy
    Colonoscope
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

  • Prevention

    Since the cause is not clear, there are no known prevention steps.

  • Risk Factors

    The following factors increase your chance of developing IBD:

    • Having a family member with IBD
    • Being Caucasian or of northern European ancestry
    • Being of Jewish ancestry (increases the risk of certain types of IBD)
    • Having problems with the immune system

  • Symptoms

    Symptoms depend on the type of IBD, but common symptoms may include:

    • Abdominal pain and cramping
    • Diarrhea
    • Weight loss and loss of appetite
    • Bleeding from the intestines
    • Ulcers in the intestines
    • Inflammation of the rectum
    • Draining around the rectum
    • Bloating or feeling of fullness
    • Gas
    • Bloody diarrhea
    • Abdominal sounds (such as gurgling)
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Joint pain

  • Treatment

    Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment options include: