About IBD

Inflammatory Bowel Disease or “IBD”

What is Inflammatory Bowel Disease?

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is the term used to describe two main conditions: ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease are chronic, incurable diseases that involve chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract.

Ulcerative colitis only affects the colon (large intestine). Crohn’s disease can affect any part of the digestive system, from the mouth to the anus.

Who gets it?

People of any age can get IBD, but it’s usually diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 40.

The cause of IBD is still unknown, but it is thought to include many different contributing factors such as genes, the environment and gut bacteria.

What are the symptoms?

Primary symptoms:

  • Diarrhoea and/or constipation
  • Increased frequency/urgency in bowel movements
  • Blood and mucus in stools
  • Abdominal pain/cramping
  • Tiredness and fatigue
  • Fever
  • Feeling generally unwell
  • Weight loss

Secondary symptoms:

  • Anaemia
  • Joint inflammation
  • Eye inflammation
  • Dermatological issues

How is it treated?

There is currently no cure for IBD, but treatments are available and can give patients many years of remission (period of disease inactivity) in some cases.

Treatment aims to relieve the symptoms and prevent them from returning. Treatments include aminosalicylates or mesalazines, immunosuppressants, biological therapy, small molecules, and surgery.


1 in 250 of the UK population currently suffers from a form of IBD. IBD affects more than 300,000 people in the UK alone.

An estimated 1 in 5 people with ulcerative colitis have severe symptoms that don’t improve with medication. In these cases, surgery may be necessary to remove an inflamed section of large bowel (colon).

Around 60-75% of people with Crohn’s disease will need surgery to repair damage to their digestive system and treat the complications.

People with IBD are at increased risk of getting bowel cancer.

Cure Crohn’s Colitis are investing in vital research to improve IBD patients’ lives and to ultimately find a cure. You can help us achieve this!