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Ulcerative Colitis  

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Crohn's Disease  

Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) refers to chronic conditions that cause inflammation in the lining and, in some instances, the wall of the intestine. The two primary types of IBD are:

The cause of inflammatory bowel disease is not known. It seems to run in some families. Some researchers think that an infection causes the immune system to overreact and damage the intestines.

The Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America estimates that as many as one million Americans may have inflammatory bowel disease—about half of these people have Crohn’s and the other half have ulcerative colitis.

Increased Risk of Colon Cancer

About 5% of people with ulcerative colitis eventually develop colon cancer. The risk of cancer increases with the duration and the extent of involvement of the colon. The risk is higher in ulcerative colitis patients with involvement of the entire colon and in patients who have had the disease over 8-10 years.

Complications of Crohn’s Disease

Possible complications of Crohn’s disease include intestinal obstruction and formation of fistulas. A fistula is an abnormal connection between the intestine and other organs or tissues, such as the bladder, vagina, or skin.