What is Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)?

Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis belong to a group of conditions known as inflammatory bowel diseases, or IBD. These disorders affect the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, the area of the body where you digest food. The diseases cause inflammation of the intestine which can cause your symptoms and sometimes lead to more complicated issues in your body that your doctor or healthcare team can help with. While there is no known cause or cure for IBD, the good news is that there are many treatments available to help you control it. You might be taking medications that come in many different forms, or some patients follow a specific diet or a nutrition support therapy to help control the disease. In some cases, there are patients that undergo surgery (sometimes more than once). Here are other facts you should know about IBD:


  • It is estimated that 1 in 100 Americans suffer from Crohn's Disease or ulcerative colitis, with about 70,000 new patients being diagnosed each year.
  • Anyone can get IBD, but adolescents and young adults between the ages of 15 and 35 are the most commonly affected ages 
  • About 20% of patients have another family member with IBD, and families frequently share a similar pattern of disease.

It is important for patients like you to take control of your journey by educating yourself, learning the skills you need to be independent with IBD in college, and find ways to get involved or advocate for others who are also going through the challenges of these diseases. Get started by exploring the information on this website!


If you ever have any questions, visit the "Ask an Expert" section for ways to contact us or our community of medical experts!