Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a group of diseases where the gastrointestinal (GI) tract are chronically inflamed. People with IBD can suffer from episodic or persistent symptoms that make it hard to carry out everyday activities.
IBD has many possible symptoms
Symptoms can include recurring bowel trouble, including diarrhoea, pain and abdominal cramping, reduced appetite, weight loss, fever and fatigue.
The most common forms of IBD are Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
Around 2.2 million people have IBD in Europe. The cause of IBD is not known but genetics, the immune system and the environment all play a role. IBD symptoms can be affected by diet, stress, medication or even smoking, so lifestyle and nutritional changes might be able to help.
Patients can sometimes have undesired weight loss, especially when symptoms flare up, so it is important that they get adequate nutritional and fluid intake.
Despite some overlapping symptoms, IBD and IBS are two different conditions. IBS is often episodic, that is, the symptoms wax and wane, but it is a not associated with any identifiable disease in the GI tract.
IBD is the inflammation of some part of the GI tract and can be a more serious condition. In either case, diet may play a role in alleviating symptoms.