Crohn’s disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC) belong to a group of conditions known as inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). IBD also includes indeterminate colitis (IC), a term used when it is not clear if inflammation is due to Crohn’s or colitis, constituting about 15% of all cases. It is unclear why people get IBD, however, research shows that a combination of genes, an overactive immune system, and environmental factors all play a role.
Many new treatments have made IBD more manageable today than it was only ten years ago. It is important to bear in mind that IBD is a chronic illness and requires proactive care. Successful disease management begins with an accurate diagnosis and assessment of disease activity, including its precise location in the gastrointestinal tract. Choices for both medical and surgical treatment options will be guided by ongoing clinical and diagnostic monitoring. As you learn about the diagnostic tests and procedures, you will also become familiar with the tools that will help manage IBD for the long term.