Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is the umbrella that covers Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Together around 1.4 million Americans are affected by these diseases. In fact, each year nearly 30,000 new cases of Crohn’s and colitis are diagnosed. However, most of us are unaware of the signs, symptoms and treatment available to manage these diseases.

The two predominant types of IBD are Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis which are chronic conditions and cannot be cured. However, they can be managed and are not fatal. In fact, most people who have these diseases do live normal and productive lives.

Many people confuse inflammatory bowel disease with irritable bowel syndrome. Inflammatory bowel disease involves true inflammation that physicians can see during examination. The disease requires medication and sometimes surgery to treat the abnormally inflamed areas. Patients with irritable bowel syndrome do not suffer inflammation but may have similar symptoms. Irritable bowel syndrome patients do not require surgery.

Patients with IBD who are pregnant or planning to conceive may have special concerns or questions about how their disease can be managed GI diseases. NorthShore also offers an IBD Information and Support Group dedicated to helping patients, and their families and friends cope more effectively with IBD.

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