Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

It is a chronic disorder that causes inflammation of the digestive or gastrointestinal tract. There is an abnormal response by the body’s immune system, which normally protects the body from infection. In IBD, the immune system mistakes microbes, such as bacteria that normally inhabit the bowel, for foreign or invading substances, causing the attack. The body sends white blood cells into the lining of the intestine, where it produces the chronic inflammation. These cells through their cytokines (harmful products), cause ulceration and bowel injury. When this happens, the patient experiences the symptoms of IBD.

How Common Is Inflammatory Bowel Disease?

It is estimated that as many as one million Americans have IBD equally divided into Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis. The two types of inflammatory bowel disease, with 10% having mixed features and considered indeterminate colitis. Males and females are both affected equally, with two predominant age populations: Adolescent and young adult, and the 70 years of age and older group. About 10% however, are youngsters less than 18 years of age.

Who Gets IBD?

IBD runs in families, with 20-25% of patients having a close relative with either Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis. If you have a relative with the disease, your risk is increased 10 times the general population and if it is your brother or sister, it increases to 30 times. Researchers are working to discover specific genes that have abnormal mutations or alterations involved in the transmission of this illness. A gene known as NOD2/CARD15 is a mutation twice as frequent in Crohn’s patients and may be a link in this process. Certain ethnic groups are affected more than others, such as American Jews of European descent are 4-5 times more likely than the general population to develop IBD. The prevalence of Caucasians is 149 per 100,000; but there are increase reports of African Americans with the disease. Hispanics and Asian prevalence rates are lower in comparison.


Inflammatory Bowel DIsease is largely a disease of the developed world, found principally in the U.S. and Europe. It is more common in urban rather than rural areas and in the northern than in the southern climates. The frequency of the disease increases when specific groups of people move from underdeveloped to developed countries and vice versa.

What Are The Symptoms Of IBD?

  • Persistent diarrhea
  • Crampy abdominal pain
  • Fever
  • Rectal bleeding

What Are The Extra-Intestinal Complications Of IBD?

  • Arthritis
  • Bone loss
  • Kidney disorders
  • Liver disease
  • Skin disorders

How Is IBD Diagnosed?

  • Based on a combination of exams:
  • Endoscopy (colonoscopy, egd, ercp)
  • Radiology CT sans, x-rays, MRI
  • Histology (Pathology) tissue biopsy
  • Laboratory studies routine blood tests, antibody studies (pANCA and ASCA)

Treatment For IBD?

Prescription mediations and/or therapy mediations to control inflammation are usually prescribed. Antibiotics may also be used to treat complications such as abscesses or fistulae. Surgery may be necessary for patients who do not respond to therapy or develop complications, such as infection or obstruction of the GI tract.