Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Inflammatory Bowel Disease Health Center

Font Size

Causes of Inflammatory Bowel Disease

The cause of the inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), ulcerative colitis, and Crohn's disease, is not known. Studies suggest they are caused by a combination of things, including genes, environmental factors, and problems with the immune system.

There is strong evidence to suggest a genetic basis for IBD, including:

Recommended Related to Inflammatory Bowel Disease

How to Have a Confident Social Life With IBD

Chances are your inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is under good control thanks to effective medicine. But even if you're in remission from Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis, you may fear having sudden cramps or worse when you're out and about. The good news: You don't have to give up your social life.  People who've been there share their advice:

Read the How to Have a Confident Social Life With IBD article > >

  • Family history: As many as 20% of people with IBD have a family history of it.
  • Race and ethnicity: IBD is more common in white people. It's also more common in Jews, especially Ashkenazi Jews.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease Genes

In 2006, the first gene associated with Crohn's disease, the NOD2 gene, was identified. Since then, researchers have uncovered over 200 related genomic regions for IBD.

Finding a genetic link would help scientists understand the changes that lead to IBD, and help them improve treatments. A genetic link could also lead to a test for IBD.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS on April 04, 2013

Today on WebMD

clams
Quiz
ibd overview
Slideshow
 
treatment for crohns slideshow
Slideshow
Ulcerative Colitis Managing Flares
Slideshow
 
Living With Crohns Slideshow
Slideshow
Ulcerative Colitis Surgery Slideshow
Slideshow
 
crohns disease healthcheck
Tool
Ulcerative Colitis Health Check
Tool
 
Crohns Symptoms
Quiz
Ulcerative Colitis Diet
Slideshow
 
Crohns Prebiotic
Article
Supplements UC
Video