Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), including Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, are chronic inflammatory disorders of the gastrointestinal tract whose prevalence has been dramatically increasing over the past decade. New studies have shown that IBD is the second most common chronic inflammatory disease worldwide after rheumatoid arthritis, affecting millions of people mainly in industrialized countries. Symptoms of IBD include frequent bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping, anorexia, abdominal distension, and emesis. Although the exact etiology is unknown, it has been postulated that immunological, microbial, environmental, nutritional, and genetic factors contribute to the pathogenesis and severity of IBD. Today, no treatment has consistently been shown to be successful in treating IBD. This review summarizes current research on the epidemiology, etiology, pathophysiology, and existing treatment approaches, including pharmaceutical and nutritional options for IBD.
Keywords: Crohn's disease; inflammation; microbiome; ulcerative colitis.