Causes of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

The causes of IBD are not fully known. However, there are some factors that can increase the risk of you developing the disease, which we will take a look at here.

Some factors thought to put you more at risk of IBD are:

  • Genetics - if someone you are related to has IBD, you are more likely to develop it.
  • Age – most people are diagnosed with IBD before the age of 30.
  • Immune system - problems with your immune system may contribute to IBD, such as an abnormal response to fighting off infection.
  • Race and ethnicity – white people are at the highest risk of IBD.
  • Environmental factors – IBD is more common in industrialised countries, so diets high in fat or in refined food may contribute.
  • Smoking - smokers are more likely to get Crohn’s disease than non-smokers.
  • Taking certain medications – if you regularly take ibuprofen, naproxen sodium or diclofenac sodium, you may be at a higher risk of IBD, or they can aggravate the symptoms.

You don’t have to deal with IBD on your own. Our doctors are here to help. Once they understand your symptoms, they can offer a diagnosis and refer you to a specialist who will be able to offer you advice and suggest effective treatment and symptom management techniques.

IBD is a chronic condition, which means it cannot be cured, but it does tend to have periods when the disease is active, known as a flare up, and when it is in remission, with no symptoms.

The onset of a flare up is often attributed to a certain food, stress, missing medication, antibiotics or certain types of medication you are taking.

You will be encouraged to, along with your doctor, work out what triggers your IBD. Avoiding your known triggers will be one of the first steps in controlling IBD symptoms and preventing further flare ups.

Simple changes to lifestyle and diet may help to manage your flare ups of IBD and medications can also keep the condition under control and make symptoms more manageable. Find out more about IBD treatment here.

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