Skip to content

Inflammatory Bowel Disease Health Center

What is Inflammatory Bowel Disease?

Font Size
A
A
A

Inflammatory Bowel Disease Overview

The term inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) covers a group of disorders in which the intestines become inflamed (red and swollen), probably as a result of an immune reaction of the body against its own intestinal tissue.

Two major types of IBD are described: ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. As the name suggests, ulcerative colitis is limited to the colon (large intestine). Although Crohn's disease can involve any part of the gastrointestinal tract from the mouth to the anus, it most commonly affects the small intestine and/or the colon.

Both ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease usually run a waxing and waning course in the intensity and severity of illness. When there is severe inflammation, the disease is considered to be in an active stage, and the person experiences a flare-up of the condition. When the degree of inflammation is less (or absent), the person usually is without symptoms, and the disease is considered to be in remission.

WebMD Medical Reference from eMedicineHealth

Reviewed by William Blahd, MD on August 01, 2014

Today on WebMD

woman with pains in abdomen
Get personalized tips.
woman in restaurant
Tips for staying active.
 
woman clutching at stomach
Causes, symptoms, treatments, and more.
butter curls
What to eat and avoid.
 
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