|Inflammatory Bowel Disease, IBD
Inflammatory bowel disease is the name of a group of disorders that cause the intestines to become inflamed (red and swollen). The inflammation lasts a long time and usually comes back over and over again. More than 600,000 Americans have some kind of inflammatory bowel disease every year.
There are two kinds of inflammatory bowel disease: Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Crohn's disease usually causes ulcers (open sores) along the length of the small and large intestines. Crohn's disease either spares the rectum, or causes inflammation or infection with drainage around the rectum. Ulcerative colitis usually causes ulcers in the lower part of the large intestine, often starting at the rectum.
The exact causes are unknown. The disease may be caused by a germ or by an immune system problem. You don't have to worry about your family members catching the disease from you, because it isn't contagious. However, inflammatory bowel disease does seem to run in families.
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