Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) represents a group of idiopathic, chronic, inflammatory intestinal conditions. Its two main disease categories are: Crohn's disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC), which feature both overlapping and distinct clinical and pathological features. While these diseases have, in the past, been most evident in the developed world, their prevalence in the developing world has been gradually increasing in recent decades. This poses unique issues in diagnosis and management which have been scarcely addressed in the literature or in extant guidelines. Depending on the nature of the complaints, investigations to diagnose either form of IBD or to assess disease activity will vary and will also be influenced by geographic variations in other conditions that might mimic IBD. Similarly, therapy varies depending on the phenotype of the disease being treated and available resources. The World Gastroenterology Organization has, accordingly, developed guidelines for diagnosing and treating IBD using a cascade approach to account for variability in resources in countries around the world.