Inflammatory Bowel Disease

There are two most common forms of inflammatory ulcerative, colitis or Crohn’s disease bowel disease (IBD).
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Inflammatory Bowel Disease

These conditions, which can be painful and debilitating, cause chronic inflammation of the digestive tract.

Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease are very similar - so similar, in fact, that they’re often mistaken for one another. Both inflame the lining of your digestive tract, and both can cause severe bouts of watery diarrhea and abdominal pain. But Crohn’s disease can occur anywhere in your digestive tract, often spreading deep into the layers of affected tissues. Ulcerative colitis, on the other hand, usually affects only the innermost lining (mucosa) of your large intestine (colon) and rectum.

No one is quite sure what causes IBD, although there’s a consensus as to what doesn’t cause it. Researchers no longer believe that stress is the main culprit, although stress can often aggravate symptoms. Instead, current thinking focuses on the following possibilities:

Immune system. Some scientists think an unknown virus or bacterium may cause IBD. The digestive tract becomes inflamed when the body’s immune system tries to fight off the invading microorganism. It’s also possible that inflammation may stem from the virus or bacterium itself.

Heredity. About 20 percent of people with ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s have a parent, sibling or child who also has the disease. Scientists are searching for a gene or genes that might make you susceptible to IBD.

Environment. Because IBD occurs more often among people living in cities and industrial nations, it’s possible that environmental factors, including a diet high in fat or refined foods, may play a role.

Other sources of information for these topics.

Inflammatory bowel disease -
Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis are the most common forms of inflammatory bowel disease — a serious inflammation of the digestive tract.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Irritable Bowel Syndrome
A huge resource for Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Inflammatory Bowel Disease, including original articles, chat, and links to information about medications, ...

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