Inflammatory Bowel Disease

(IBD; Regional Enteritis; Ileitis; Granulomatous Ileocolitis; Ulcerative Colitis)


Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is swelling and irritation of the intestines. Two forms of IBD are:
IBD is a lifelong illness.


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

Risk Factors

IBD is more common in people who are Caucasian or of northern European or Jewish ancestry.
The following factors increase your chance of developing IBD:


Symptoms may be constant or occur during flare-ups. Symptoms depend on the type of IBD, but common symptoms may include:


You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
Images of your bodily structures may be needed. This can be done with:
Your bodily fluids and waste products may be tested. This can be done with:
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There is no cure for IBD but treatments can help control symptoms. Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment options include:

Lifestyle Changes

IBD symptoms may be reduced with simple dietary changes. Dietary changes may include switching to a diet that is:
Overall wellness may also play a role in reducing IBD flare-ups. Find ways to reduce stress. Get plenty of rest.


Most medications for IBD focus on reducing the swelling and irritation. Medications include:
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Corticosteroids
  • Immune system suppressors
  • Antibiotics to kill germs in the intestinal tract
  • Anti-diarrhea medication
  • Laxatives
  • Pain relievers


Surgery is not helpful for all types of IBD. For people with severe ulcerative colitis, a surgery to remove the colon may be done.


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


Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases


The College of Family Physicians of Canada

Health Canada


Botoman VA, Bonner GF, Botoman DA. Management of inflammatory bowel disease. Am Fam Physician. 1998;57(1):57-68.

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: Updated January 14, 2014. Accessed October 1, 2014.

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