The two main types of IBD are Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis. Both the diseases are chronic (ongoing) conditions, which are not infectious. Currently, there is no known cure of these diseases. The cause or causes have not yet been identified in either illness. Both genetic factors and environmental triggers are likely to be involved. Worldwide research is rapidly increasing understanding of IBD, and so hopes for better treatments are high.
A less well-known type of IBD is Microscopic Colitis, which covers two types of bowel inflammation called Collagenous Colitis and Lymphocytic Colitis. Inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract may also be caused by other conditions, such as radiation colitis and diversion colitis, but are not considered IBD.
a. Crohn’s Disease
i. It can affect anywhere from the mouth to the anus but most commonly affects the small intestine and/or colon. It causes inflammation, deep ulcers and scarring to the wall of the intestine and often occurs in patches
ii. The main symptoms are pain in the abdomen, urgent diarrhoea, general tiredness and loss of weight. Crohn’s is sometimes associated with other inflammatory conditions affecting the joints, skin and eyes
b. Ulcerative Colitis
i. It affects the rectum and sometimes the colon (large intestine). Inflammation and many tiny ulcers develop on the inside lining of the colon resulting in urgent and bloody diarrhoea, pain and continual tiredness. The condition varies as to how much of the colon is affected
ii. In addition, ulcerative colitis can cause inflammation in the eyes, skin and joints
iii. If the inflammation is only in the rectum it is known as proctitis
c. For both illnesses
i. The severity of the symptoms fluctuates unpredictably over time. Patients are likely to experience flare-ups in between intervals of remission or reduced symptoms
ii. The cause or causes have not yet been identified in either illness. Both genetic factors and environmental triggers are likely to be involved