IBD and Crohn's Disease - What's The Link?
By Sarah Jenkins
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is a term used for a group of
illnesses affecting the digestive system. With roughly one
million sufferers in the United States, IBD is primarily
composed of two disorders: Crohn's Disease and ulcerative
What takes place with IBD, Crohn's, and ulcerative colitis is
the body's immune system has an exaggerated response to an
unknown bacteria or condition of the bowel system, releases a
large number of white blood cells to the affected area, and as a
result, the area becomes drastically inflamed. This swelling
causes ulcerations and injury to the bowel, as well as various
other negative side effects.
Although extensive research has been done, it is unclear what
causes the excessive immune response in IBD. Some believe it is
the body's mistaken identification of good bacteria in the bowel
as being dangerous, while others believe it is a foreign agent
that triggers the immune system, which in turn, does not shut
down properly. Whatever the reason, this is a chronic condition
which will continue to be a problem for sufferers for an
extended period of time.
The primary difference between Crohn's Disease and ulcerative
colitis is the location of the affected area. Crohn's Disease
may affect any portion of the digestive system and may occur in
patches, with unaffected areas in between. However, Crohn's
Disease primarily affects the end of the small intestine and the
beginning of the large intestine. On the other hand, ulcerative
colitis only affects the colon. Often, it is very difficult to
determine which form of IBD a patient is suffering from and
misdiagnosis is common.
Symptoms common of Irritable Bowel Disorder are diarrhea,
abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, and occasionally weight loss.
These signs are often present with Crohn's Disease, as well as
uncreative colitis. As a result of blood loss, many sufferers
also become anemic. This can be especially devastating to
pre-existing conditions. Likewise, complications can arise from
blockages that occur due to excessive bowel swelling and the
presence of scar tissue. For this reason, surgery is sometimes
necessary to remove damaged areas of the digestive system to
avoid obstructions. There are also side effects experienced in
other areas of the body in addition to the digestive system.
For the most part, IBD and Crohn's Disease are often used
interchangeably. However, it should be understood that Irritable
Bowel Disorder does not necessarily translate to Crohn's
Disease. There are other forms of IBD that may affect sufferers
in much the same way.
About the author:
Sarah is an acclaimed writer on medical matters, and has written
extensively on the subjects of Attention Deficit Disorder, Bird
Flu and Cohn's Disease. For more of her articles, go to