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Key Information About Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Srikanth is passionate about helping people improve their quality of life.


Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is an umbrella term for various long-term conditions that involve inflammation of the gut.

At the turn of the 21st century, IBD has become a global disease with accelerating incidence in newly industrialised nations whose societies have become more westernised.

Globally, IBD affected an estimated 6.8 million people in 2017.

IBD is not to be confused with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), which produces similar symptoms but without the visible damage to the digestive tract as is common with IBD.

Digestive System



Two main types of inflammatory bowel disease are ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease.

Ulcerative colitis is limited to the large intestine. Crohn's disease can involve any part of the gastrointestinal tract; however, most commonly, it affects the last part of the small intestine or the colon or both.


Even though the exact cause of IBD is not known, some experts are of the opinion that these diseases are caused by a combination of genetic and non-genetic, or environmental factors that interact with the body's immune system.

When the intestinal immune system does not function properly, many WBCs accumulate in the inner lining of the gut. These cells then release chemicals that cause inflammation.

"About 25 percent to 35 percent of our IBD population now are over the age of 60 years and this proportion is likely to increase significantly over the next couple of decades,” said Subrata Ghosh, MD, of the University College Cork.

Genetically-predicted risk of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) was positively associated with an increased risk of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), a study published in Seminars in Arthritis & Rheumatism found.

Some Candida albicans yeast strains in the human gut fuel IBD as per a research study from scientists at Weill Cornell Medicine in March 2022.


Both Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis usually involve severe diarrhea, stomach pain, fatigue, loss of appetite and weight loss.

In pediatric inflammatory bowel disease, heart rate variability predicts disease exacerbation.



Inflammatory bowel disease is a chronic condition, and people with IBD will typically need treatment throughout their lives.

Treatment depends on how severe the symptoms are, and how much of the gut is affected.

The two goals of therapy are the achievement of remission (induction) and the prevention of disease flares (maintenance).

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Medical therapy for IBD has advanced dramatically in the last 10 years with the introduction of targeted biologic therapies, the optimization of older therapies, including medicines like immunomodulators and 5-aminosalicylic acid (5-ASA), and a better understanding of the mucosal immune system and the genetics involved in the pathogenesis of IBD.

Entyvio therapy is safe for the long-term treatment of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, according to the final results of the GEMINI trial, presented at Digestive Disease Week.

Scientists at the University of Cambridge have developed a new test that can reliably predict the future course of inflammatory bowel disease in individuals, transforming treatments for patients and paving the way for a personalised approach.

Currently, health care providers commonly address the treatment of IBD based on how a patient is feeling at that specific point in time.

However, the approach to treatment is becoming forward-thinking, with practitioners choosing treatment paths based on how a patient’s disease will likely develop in the future.

IBD is commonly treated with one of several available biological drugs that block an inflammatory molecule called Tumor Necrosis Factor Alpha, or TNF-alpha, from binding to two receptors, TNFR1 and TNFR2.

Potassium may play a role in reducing inflammation in UC patients. A study published in Scientific Reports in 2017 found that UC patients with active disease had lower urinary potassium levels than healthy controls. Additionally, in a follow-up laboratory study looking at inflammatory cells common in UC patients, researchers found that increased potassium levels reduced inflammatory cell activity.

In July 2022, research scientists at the University of Queensland and Mater isolated five strains of gut bacteria that could pave the way for new inflammatory bowel disease treatments.

“While the gut microbiome is made up of trillions of bacteria that have co-evolved with humans over time, our lab tests identified five strains that were able to suppress inflammation in blood and tissue samples from IBD patients,” said University of Queensland researcher and Inflammatory Bowel Disease Research Group Leader, Associate Professor Jake Begun.

“Furthermore, one of these healthy gut bacterial strains produced anti-inflammatory substances that were able to reduce disease severity in a pre-clinical model by inhibiting one of the master molecular regulators of inflammation called NF-kB, without causing any side-effects.”

A pilot study (conducted in August 2022) published in the Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology suggests that Efficient-Net-B3, an AI system, has a higher accuracy of diagnosing inflammatory bowel disease than health professionals.

Chlorophyllin -- a compound derived from green pigment found in plants -- reduces mortality related to IBD.


Reducing the intake of certain foods, particularly meats and foods high in trans fats and refined sugar, can help lower your risk of getting IBD.

Include foods rich in dietary fiber (like berries and carrot) in your diet. Eat small, frequent meals; may be once every two hours. Drink plenty of liquids, especially water.

Carrot Is Rich in Dietary Fiber


Doctor Says

"Not only are the symptoms associated with IBD significant, the clinical outcomes linked to the treatment of this disease are, as well,” said Jeffrey Berinstein, M.D., a gastroenterologist and clinical instructor at Michigan Medicine. “There is a lot of variation in how patients respond to specific forms of care, as well as high direct costs associated with the disease. IBD can be a very challenging condition to live with."

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2019 Srikanth R


Srikanth R (author) on May 10, 2019:


Liz Westwood from UK on May 10, 2019:

I have known people who suffer from Crohn's disease. It is a terrible condition to live with and in extreme cases is life threatening and life limiting.

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