IBD Integrated Resources Portal

The Biref Description

There are TWO types of inflammatory bowel diseases(IBD): Ulcerative Colitis (UC) and Crohn's Disease (CD). Ulcerative colitis affects only the colon (large intestine) but Crohn's disease can affect any part of the GI tract, most often the ileocecum.

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Who Gets IBD?

The mechanism of IBD's pathogenesis is unknown, but several factors are thought to play a central role: genetics, the environment, gut microbiota, and the dysfunction in the gut immune system. Inflammatory bowel disease often influences relatively young people between the ages of 15 and 30 years.

Symptoms of IBD

The typical symptoms of IBD range from diarrhea, bloody stool, abdominal pain, fever, fatigue, and weight loss. The degree of the above symptoms could be from very mild to very severe. The outer GI tract's damages include joint pain/arthritis, eye/vision problems, certain types of rashes, and liver disease. The pathology of UC is quite different from CD. For UC, the intestinal damage is limited in the colon, continuous superficial ulcers, and toxic megacolon. While for CD, intestinal damage could occur in anywhere the GI tract, jumping fissure ulcer, fistula, or fibrosis.




IBD is diagnosed by careful consideration of detailed medical history, medical images such as radiography or computed tomography, and endoscopic evaluation with a biopsy pathological diagnosis of the GI tract. Common infections that can cause diarrhea should be ruled out by stool and/or blood tests. No biomarkers are diagnostic of IBD, but some test abnormalities seen in IBD include anemia, elevated ESR and CRP, electrolyte abnormalities due to diarrhea, low albumin due to both inflammation and poor absorption of nutrients, and vitamin deficiencies (in Crohn's disease) due to poor absorption of nutrients.

Endoscopy and biopsy is the important method to diagnose IBD. Endoscopic evaluation can include upper endoscopy, colonoscopy, or both, depending on where the lesions are located. Multiple biopsies of the GI tract are taken, which often confirm the diagnosis.



Treatment of IBD depends on the disease type and stage. Mild disease is treated with anti-inflammatory   medications, including 5 aminosalicylic acid, antibiotics, and/or corticosteroids. More severe disease is treated   with immunomodulators, immunosuppress, and biologics.   In particular, biological therapies, which include anti-TNFα antibodies (e.g., infliximab, adalimumab, and certolizumab), anti-integrin antibodies   (e.g.,   vedolizumab and natalizumab), anti-IL-12/23 antibodies (e.g., ustekinumab),   and Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitors, have been   shown to be highly effective in many patients with IBD. Patients with severe gut obstruction, fistula, stenosis,   and toxic megacolon may require surgery. People with IBD that involves the colon are at increased risk of colorectal cancer. Therefore, they need colorectal cancer screening throughout their lives.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is IBD?

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a group of chronic digestive disorders characterized by inflammation of the digestive tract. The two main types of IBD are Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.

What are the common symptoms of IBD?

Common symptoms of IBD include diarrhea, abdominal pain, cramping, bloating, fatigue, and unintended weight loss. In severe cases, patients may experience fever, nausea, and vomiting.

How is IBD diagnosed?

IBD is diagnosed through a combination of medical history, physical exam, laboratory tests, and imaging studies. In some cases, a biopsy of the digestive tract may also be required.

What are the available treatments for IBD?

Treatment for IBD is aimed at reducing inflammation and managing symptoms. This may include medications, surgery, dietary changes, and lifestyle modifications. It is important to work with a healthcare provider to develop a personalized treatment plan.

How is IBD research funded?

IBD research may be funded through a variety of sources, including government grants, private foundations, and industry sponsors. Many research organizations and institutions also offer training and mentorship programs to support the development of new IBD researchers.

How can I get involved in IBD research?

There are many ways to get involved in IBD research, including volunteering for clinical trials, donating to research organizations, and participating in patient advocacy initiatives. You can also contact your local research institutions to learn about volunteer or employment opportunities.

The Department of Gastroenterology of the Third Xiangya Hospital
Central South University