Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is a chronic condition in which all or part of the digestive tract is inflamed. The exact cause is not clear, most likely a genetic predisposition combined with an environment trigger causes the body’s immune system to produce an inflammatory reaction in the digestive tract.
Both ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease are considered inflammatory bowel diseases. Ulcerative colitis affects the large intestine (colon). Crohn's disease can affect anywhere along the digestive tract from the mouth to the anus, but most likely, the small or large intestines. Crohn's disease can affect all layers of the intestinal wall but ulcerative colitis affects only the lining of the colon.
The symptoms can range from mild to severe. Symptoms can also vary in intensity over time, meaning that many patients will experience periods of flare ups and periods of remission. Some of the most common symptoms include the following:
For more information from The American College of Gastroenterology on the above conditions, click the link.