Day 5 of IBD Awareness Week: IBS vs IBD

ibs vs ibd

Happy day 5 of IBD Awareness week! Here is a quick post about the differences between IBS and IBD.

IBS vs IBD? What’s the difference?  IBS stands for irritable bowel syndrome, and IBD stands for inflammatory bowel disease.  Both conditions produce similar symptoms and can be debilitating, but there are major differences between the two.  Interestingly, many IBD patients also have IBS.


IBD includes both Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, which are autoimmune diseases.  IBS is considered a functional bowel syndrome, as there are no pathological changes seen on biopsy, as opposed to the visible inflammation in IBD.  However, IBS research suggests immune system responses to stress are abnormal, which may cause these bowel symptoms.  Additionally, miscommunication between the brain and gut may lead to IBS symptoms.
The pathogenesis of IBD is not entirely understood either, but it appears to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors.  The immune system attacks bacteria in the gut, leading to the ulcers and inflammation that characterize IBD.  The following chart highlights some of the similarities and differences between IBS and IBD symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and complications.

ibs vs ibd

 I hope this clarifies some of your IBS vs IBD questions and concerns. Let me know if you have any questions!



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