• Dr. Dooreck with Joie Meyer | Public Health

What is "IBD"?

Updated: Jan 20

You probably know at least a handful of people who suffer from one form of inflammatory bowel disease (IB, such as Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis (UC).

In fact, gut diseases are on the rise, due to a number of different factors. Read more about the causes behind this upward trend along with how we can heal our sensitive stomachs.

What is IBD?

Inflammatory Bowel Disease, otherwise known as IBD, is an umbrella term referring to a chronically inflamed digestive tract.

According to the CDC, IBD has increased by about 45% since 1999.

In 2015, it was estimated that about 1.3% of adults (3 million people) in the US are suffering from IBD.

There are two conditions that fall under IBD:

Ulcerative colitis: Constant inflammation that occurs ONLY in the colon

Crohn's disease: Continuous inflammation that can affect the entire GI tract. However, you can have healthy parts of the intestine mixed in with some inflamed areas, aka "skip lesions."

Why is IBD on the rise?

There is actually a public health explanation behind why IBD has been on the rise!

IBD was first seen in industrialized nations. As places became more urbanized and hygiene methods became more advanced, people's germ resistance development weakened.

In fact, research has shown that when someone emigrates from a country with low IBD rates to a country with high IBD rates, their children become more likely to develop IBD. This indicates that along with a genetic factor, the environment plays a large role.

With IBD, your immune system accidentally classifies harmless food or bacteria in the GI tract as foreign substances and responds by sending white blood cells into your bowel's lining, leading to inflammation.

Brian Dooreck MD | Gut Health ➕ Life Balance 
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What environmental factors contribute to IBD?

Although genetics plays a role in IBD, environmental factors contribute a lot to the development of IBD.

These factors include:

  • Diet

  • Nowadays, our diets are filled with heavily processed, additive-filled, sugary foods.

  • Diets consisting of refined carbs, and red meats, with few fibers, fruits, and vegetables may lead to IBD.

  • On top of that, a lack of high-fiber foods can promote gut disorders.

  • Stress

  • Our gut-brain connection is stronger than we may think,

  • Lack of sunlight

  • Sterile surroundings

  • The decline in smoking rates

  • But, don't start smoking!

How is IBD diagnosed?

IBD can be difficult to diagnose. Usually, your gastroenterologist uses an elimination process of diagnosis, eliminating other possible causes of the symptoms you may be experiencing. Some tests for IBD may include:

  • Stool tests

  • X-rays

  • Endoscopy tests

  • Blood tests

How is IBD Treated?

The goal of treating inflammatory bowel disease is to reduce inflammation; specifically, the inflammation that triggers the clinical signs and symptoms.

This may lead to symptom relief. But, the real goal is long-term remission and reduced risks of complications, such as cancer, fistula, strictures, and abscesses.

IBD treatment usually involves either drug therapy aimed to reduce inflammation or surgery in some cases.

What can I do to prevent IBD?

The hereditary causes of IBD can’t be prevented. However, you may be able to reduce your risk of developing IBD or prevent relapse by:

  • eating healthy foods

  • exercising regularly

  • quitting smoking

IBD can cause some discomfort, but there are ways you can manage the disease and still live a healthy, active lifestyle.

It can also be helpful to talk to others who understand what you're going through. IBD Healthline is a free app that connects you with others living with IBD through one-on-one messaging and "live" group chats, while also providing access to expert-approved information on managing IBD. Download the app for iPhone or Android.

Here are some takeaways on this from a public health point of view.


I eat a high fiber, mostly plant-based 🌱 diet, no red meat, drink 4 liters of water a day, exercise, and am focused on keeping nutrition simple. I am sharing what works for me and what I routinely recommend to my patients.

"Balance. Portion control. Keep nutrition simple. Eat Smart. Eat Healthy. 🌱 🌾 🌿"

Need a life "reset"?
By application only.
Click for Executive Health Coaching 🌱 with Dr. Dooreck.

Connect with Dr. Dooreck on LinkedIn where he focuses his sharing on Health, Diet, Nutrition, Exercise, Lifestyle, and Balance.

gastroenterology | colonoscopy doctor | colonoscopy and gastroenterology services | gastro doctor | gi doctor | gastrointestinal diagnostic centers | public health


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