What is Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)?
The term Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) covers a group of disorders in which the intestines become inflamed (red and swollen), probably as a result of an immune reaction of the body against its own intestinal tissue.
Two types of IBD are described: Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn's disease. Ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease are incurable chronic diseases of the intestinal tract.
Crohn's disease is an inflammatory condition that affects the digestive tract - including the mouth, esophagus, stomach, small and large intestine, and anus. It can affect any portion of the digestive tract, but is most common in the ileum - the lowest portion of the small intestine, where it connects with the large intestine. The usual onset is between 15 and 30 years of age, but can occur at any age.
Ulcerative Colitis is a disease that causes inflammation and sores (ulcers) in the lining of the large intestine. It usually affects the lower section (sigmoid colon) and the rectum. But it can affect the entire colon. In general, the more of the colon thatís affected, the worse the symptoms will be. While Ulcerative Colitis can occur in people of any age, it usually develops between the ages of 15 and 30 and less frequently between the ages of 60 and 80.
IBD is characterized by active periods, known as flare-ups, followed by periods of remission, during which symptoms diminish or disappear altogether. Its cause is not known.