Though there is no specific cause of inflammatory bowel disease, however there are risk factors that may increase the possibility of developing IBD:

  • Age: IBD can occur at any age, but you’re likely to develop the condition when you’re young. Most people who develop Crohn’s disease are diagnosed before they’re 30 years old.
  • Ethnicity: IBD can affect any ethnic group, whites and people of Eastern European Jewish descent have the highest risk.
  • Family history: You’re at higher risk if you have a close relative, such as a parent, sibling or child, with the disease.
  • Cigarette smoking: Cigarette smoking is a preventable risk factor for developing IBD.
Crohn’s Disease Ulcerative Colitis
•Inflammation may develop anywhere in the GI tract from the mouth of the anus

•Occurs commonly at the end of the small intestine

•May appear in patches

•May extend through entire thickness of bowel wall

•About 67% of people in remission will have a least 1 relapse over the next 5 years

•Limited to the colon and rectum

•Occurs in the rectum and colon, involving a part of the entire colon

•Appears in continuous pattern

•Inflammation occurs innermost lining of the intestine

•About 30% of people in remission will experience a relapse in the next year

Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms related to inflammation of the GI tract:
  • Persistent Diarrhea
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Urgent need to move bowels
  • Abdominal cramps and pain
  • Sensation of incomplete evacuation
  • Constipation
General symptoms that may also be associated with IBD:
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight Loss
  • Fatigue
  • Night sweats
  • Loss of normal menstrual cycle

IBD and Colorectal Cancer

Crohn’s and Colitis are risk factors for developing colorectal cancer (CRC). Those who have been diagnosed with Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis or who have a 8 to 10 year history of the diseases have a high risk of developing CRC.  Those at high risk of CRC may need to begin regular screening sooner and more often than those at average risk.  Please visit the American Cancer Society’s website for more information about CRC and screening guidelines.