My Condition

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)


Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a term used to describe two conditions: Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.

Both of these conditions are long term and involve inflammation of the gut.

Ulcerative colitis only affects the colon (large intestine); whereas Crohn’s disease can affect any part of the digestive system, from the mouth to the anus. Anyone can get IBD, but it is usually diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 40 years of age.

For more information on a less common form of IBD, click here.



Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Managing my IBD

There is currently no cure for IBD. If you have mild ulcerative colitis you may need minimal or no treatment and remain well for prolonged periods of time.

Treatment to manage and relieve symptoms of IBD includes lifestyle changes such as diet, medicines or possible surgery. 

Medicines that are used to treat ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease include:

  • aminosalicylates or mesalazines - These drugs interfere with the body's ability to control inflammation. They are effective in treating mild-to-moderate episodes of ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease, and preventing relapses and maintaining remission.
  • immunosuppressants – e.g. steroids or azathioprine which help reduce the activity of the immune system.
  • biologics – This is a specific anti-body-based treatment given by injection that can target a precise part of the immune system.

You can read more on the treatments available for ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease here.

People with ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease are also at more risk of developing bowel cancer. Your GP will recommend attending regular bowel check-ups (colonoscopies) to reduce the risk.

Below is a video from the NHS website (formerly known as NHS Choices), detailing what happens during a colonoscopy.

What happens during a colonscopy |
NHS | published on 31 July 2008

Videos about my IBD

Living with IBD |
Crohns & Colitis UK | published 22 August 2014

Schooling with Crohn's disease |
Crohn's & Colitis UK | published on 20 November 2017

Relationships with Crohn's & Colitis |
Crohn's & Colitis UK | published on 20 November 2017

It takes guts Fix on look around on ITV border |
Fixers UK | published on 16 February 2016

Support for managing my IBD

Crohn’s and Colitis UK offer support through a listening service for anyone who needs a place to talk about living with IBD.

This service is provided by volunteers, all who have had personal experiences of IBD and are trained to provide emotional support and a listening ear. Call 0121 737 9931.