Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a group of conditions where the body’s own immune system attacks parts of the digestive tract. IBD is a chronic, incurable disease. Currently, IBD affects around 5–6 million people worldwide, including up to 3 million in Europe 1, and the global prevalence is expected to rise over the next decade 2. The two main types of IBD are Crohn’s disease (CD), which can occur anywhere along the digestive tract, and ulcerative colitis (UC), which is limited to the large intestine and rectum. Symptoms vary and can include abdominal pain, fever, diarrhoea, blood in stool and weight loss. Microscopic colitis is another form of inflammation of the large intestine or colon that causes chronic, non-bloody watery diarrhoea.
IBD can also cause life-threatening complications, as well as the need for hospitalisation and/or surgery. Currently there is no cure for IBD, but treatment can reduce the inflammation that triggers signs and symptoms and help with long-term remission. Treatment adherence has significant implications for well-being and prevention of relapse for people who live with IBD.