Conditions InDepth: Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) refers to chronic conditions that cause inflammation in the lining and, in some instances, the wall of the intestine. The two primary types of IBD are:
The cause of inflammatory bowel disease is not known. It seems to run in some families. Some researchers think that an infection causes the immune system to overreact and damage the intestines.
The Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America estimates that as many as one million Americans may have inflammatory bowel disease—about half of these people have Crohn’s and the other half have ulcerative colitis.
Increased Risk of Colon Cancer
About 5% of people with ulcerative colitis eventually develop colon cancer. The risk of cancer increases with the duration and the extent of involvement of the colon. The risk is higher in ulcerative colitis patients with involvement of the entire colon and in patients who have had the disease over 8-10 years.
Complications of Crohn’s Disease
Possible complications of Crohn’s disease include intestinal obstruction and formation of fistulas. A fistula is an abnormal connection between the intestine and other organs or tissues, such as the bladder, vagina, or skin.
American Gastroenterological Association website. Available at: http://www.gastro.org/ . Accessed March 6, 2006.
Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America website. Available at: http://www.ccfa.org/ . Accessed March 6, 2006.
National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse website. Available at: http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ . Accessed March 6, 2006.
Rakel RE and Bope ET. Conn's Current Therapy 2001 . 53rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: W.B. Saunders Company; 2001.
Last reviewed March 2009 by
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Copyright © 2007 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.