Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Everything You Need to Know

Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Everything You Need to Know

Keeping on top of your health starts with understanding possible health complications from your lifestyle. A common condition that often isn’t talked about until after the fact is inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Commonly confused with other similar conditions, there is much to understand and remember about IBD. If you want to stay in the know, consider this your guide to understanding it, considering the role of inflammatory bowel disease testing, and doing what you can to help keep your gut as healthy as possible!

What is inflammatory bowel disease?

IBD is a disease that impacts your gut health, as you most likely have already guessed. Specifically, this refers to inflammation of the gut lining, and IBD tends to be limited to only inflammation of the gut lining itself. Another common name for IBD is ulcerative colitis.

The actual cause of inflammatory bowel disease is unknown at the moment. But most experts believe it’s a combination of genetics and environmental factors that can trigger it.

Is inflammatory bowel disease common?

In the UK, IBD affects 1 in 400 people. It is the most common bowel disease, with Crohn’s Disease in second place. While IBD is the most common, most people are more familiar with Crohn’s Disease.

IBD is most commonly diagnosed in patients between 15-30 years of age. There is a rising amount of diagnoses in the age bracket of 50-70 years old, too, leading to more studies on why that is.

With this wide variety of diagnoses, the need for inflammatory bowel disease testing is very high. Early diagnosis can help patients find relief from debilitating symptoms and get back to enjoying their lives again.

Inflammatory bowel disease vs. Inflammatory bowel syndrome

A lot of the time, IBD is confused with inflammatory bowel syndrome (IBS). While IBD is more common, IBS tends to be the one you hear about the most. So, what’s the deal? Are they the same thing? Actually, no.

IBS is a syndrome, whereas IBD is a disease. IBS has a group of symptoms and, since it is a syndrome, will come and go as far as symptoms, flare-ups, etc.. Since IBD is a disease, its symptoms are more concentrated on the intestinal lining. IBD can cause chronic intestinal lining swelling if left unchecked.

IBS is entirely different from IBD. You don’t need to worry about it developing into IBD or causing permanent damage to your intestines -- syndromes simply appear and then die down again.

Can inflammatory disease be treated?

Treating Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Since IBD is so common in the UK, a lot of time and energy is spent determining how to treat it. Research suggests that relying on anti-inflammatory products can help treat IBD. This is because experts believe that interrupted immune responses in the gut can cause IBD. But, more research is needed in this field to connect more dots.

For most people, the recommended treatments will fall into several categories relating to daily life. These include the following.


There are many inflammatory foods in a traditional diet, which can worsen IBD symptoms and cause more health problems. If you are diagnosed with IBD, you’ll likely change to a carefully monitored diet to help keep your body strong and minimise foods that could aggravate inflammation.

Stress management

You tend to hear stress management is critical to treating any chronic illness or disease, but this is for a good reason. When we are anxious or under a lot of stress, it can cause inflammation in our bodies. This is simply how the body responds to stress. So, living with IBD means that stress can worsen an inflamed gut lining and worsen symptoms.

Inflammation medication

There are varying degrees of IBD, which is a lifelong disease once diagnosed. At some point, many specialists recommend anti-inflammatories. These help manage inflammation and offer comfort and good quality of life. You can discuss this with your GP to see if or when the time is right for you.

IBD treatment is required

Symptom treatment and management are a core part of living with IBD. This is made easier by starting off your path to a healthy life through inflammatory bowel disease testing. This at-home test will give you either normal results, which say you are fine, or abnormal results. If you get abnormal results, you should book an appointment with your GP to see what is happening in more detail. 

Learning about inflammatory bowel disease will help you understand how it impacts your life and long-term health. This introduction will help you get started on the right foot!

Back to blog