What is inflammatory bowel disease?

Inflammatory bowel disease is the term used to describe two conditions: Crohn’s disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC). These conditions are caused by chronic inflammation in parts of the gastrointestinal tract (GI) that includes the mouth, esophagus (which connects the throat and the stomach), stomach, small intestine, large intestine and anus. Crohn’s disease may affect any part of the GI tract but more commonly affects the small intestine. Ulcerative colitis (UC) affects the large intestine and the rectum (a small chamber at the end of the large intestine).

IBD-associated arthritis is used to describe types of inflammatory arthritis associated with IBD and includes psoriatic arthritis, axial spondyloarthritis and reactive arthritis.

IBDs should not be confused with irritable bowel syndrome or celiac disease, although they have some symptoms in common.

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