Ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease are called inflammatory bowel disease(s) / IBD. Ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease have many similar symptoms (including diarrhea, rectal bleeding, and abdominal pain). These diseases are not contagious.
About one million Americans have IBD. Thirty thousand new cases are diagnosed every year.
Although the exact cause(s) of IBD is not known, these are thought to play a role in both diseases:
- A genetic tendency
- An environmental trigger
- The patient's immune system
- Bacteria that are normally in the intestine
Young people between the ages of 15 and 35 are most likely to get IBD, but anyone can get it. It is more common in Caucasians. IBD is especially common in those who are Jewish.
Ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease both have times when disease symptoms go away (remission). They also both have times when symptoms become more severe (flare).
Diagnosing these diseases requires several tests:
- Blood tests
- Endoscopy (looking inside the bowel with a flexible tube)
Ulcerative colitis can be cured by removing the colon (colectomy). There is no cure for Crohn's disease.
In a film created by Jesse Dylan, care providers participating in ImproveCareNow discuss how the program's collaborative approach is improving the health of children with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.