What is IBD?

IBD stands for Inflammatory Bowel Disease.  It describes a number of conditions which involve inflammation of the gut or digestive system (gastrointestinal tract) but mainly refers to Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn's Disease.

Ulcerative Colitis affects the colon (large intestine) and rectum, while Crohn’s Disease can affect all of the digestive system, from the mouth to the anus.

Indeterminate Colitis refers to where it’s difficult to tell the difference between Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn's Disease.

There are some less common types of IBD that can only be seen using a microscope and so they’re known as Microscopic Colitis.  These are Collagenous Colitis and Lymphocytic Colitis.

The main symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease are similar and include:

  • Pain, swelling or cramping in the stomach
  • Recurring or bloody diarrhoea
  • Unintended weight loss
  • Extreme tiredness

Not everyone has all of these symptoms, and some people may experience additional symptoms, including:

  • Vomiting
  • Anaemia
  • High temperature (fever)

Sometimes your symptoms will be better and sometimes worse as they come and go.  You may experience long periods when you have few or no symptoms at all, called remission.

When the symptoms get worse, it’s called a flare-up.  Talk to your doctor or medical professional about planning the best way for you to manage flare-ups when they happen.

IBS stands for Irritable Bowel Syndrome and is not the same as IBD although some symptoms can be similar.  IBS has symptoms such as:

  • Diarrhoea
  • Constipation
  • Abdominal Pain

Some people with IBD can also have IBS.  If you are concerned about this, talk to your doctor.


Relevant Topics


What is IBD?

Treatment for IBD

Living with IBD

Services for IBD

Shropshire Services & Support Groups - IBD

National Services - IBD


Self Care and Support

Self Care and Support - Introduction

Self Care and Support - Aims

Shropshire Services & Support Groups - Self Care and Support

National Services - Self Care and Support


Wellbeing Plan (Care Plan)

Wellbeing Plan (Care Plan) - Information

Wellbeing Plan (Care Plan) - Document Sections