What Is Inflammatory Bowel Disease?

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) encompasses a group of disorders characterized by chronic inflammation of the intestines. While historically considered an autoimmune disease, recent research suggests a different mechanism. Instead of the immune system attacking the body itself, the chronic inflammation might arise from its response to harmless viruses, bacteria, or food within the gut, leading to tissue damage and inflammation.
Two main types of IBD exist: ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Ulcerative colitis exclusively affects the colon, while Crohn’s disease can involve any segment of the gastrointestinal tract, from the mouth to the anus. However, it most commonly affects the terminal portion of the small intestine, the colon, or both.
Individuals with IBD experience a waxing and waning disease course. During active phases of inflammation, symptoms flare up, while periods with minimal to no inflammation are considered remission and are typically symptom-free.

Causes of Inflammatory Bowel Disease?

The exact cause of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) remains unknown. While a specific triggering agent has not been identified, complex interactions between the immune system, environmental factors, and potentially genetic or autoimmune elements are believed to contribute to its development. This imbalance leads to an uncontrolled inflammatory response in the intestinal tract, resulting in characteristic symptoms like diarrhea and abdominal pain.
  • Abdominal crampsand pain
  • Diarrhea that may be bloody
  • Severe urgency to have a bowel movement
  • Fever
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Iron deficiency anemia due to blood loss

Diagnosis of Inflammatory Bowel Disease?

  • Stool exam
  • Complete blood count
  • Other blood tests
  • Barium X-ray
  • CT scan
  • MRI
  • Ultrasound
  • Sigmoidoscopy
  • Colonoscopy
  • Upper endoscopy.
  • Capsule endoscopy.


Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease have some complications in common and others specific to each condition. These complications include colon cancer (patients with IBD require more frequent screening and surveillance, speak with your doctor), bowel obstruction, malnutrition, fistulas, ulcers, and many others.

Treatment of Inflammatory Bowel Disease

  • Self Care
  • Medical Treatment
“Thank you for visiting Forest Hills Gastroenterology & Liver Disease, my goal is to treat my patients in a highly personalized manner and I am dedicated to give you the utmost attention and respect that you deserve. For more infromation on this disease or to schedule a consultation with me, please give us a call or book a tele-health appointment online.”

Albert Shalomov

Dr. Albert Shalomov, MD