Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is the term used to describe chronic (ongoing and lifelong) inflammatory disorders that affect your digestive tract. There are two main types of IBD:
- Crohn’s disease – a condition that causes inflammation of the digestive system or gut. It can affect any part but most commonly Crohn’s disease affects the end of the ileum (the last part of the small intestine) or colon. As well as affecting the lining of the bowel it may go deeper into the bowel wall. Areas of inflammation may be patchy with sections of normal gut in between.
- Ulcerative colitis – a condition that causes inflammation and ulceration of the inner lining of the rectum and colon (large bowel). Ulcers develop which may bleed and produce mucus. Inflammation usually begins in the rectum and lower colon but may eventually affect the entire colon.
Because these are lifelong conditions there is no cure, however you may have times when the condition is in remission and your symptoms are less. Conversely you may have relapses when the symptoms flare up and become worse.