Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

About IBD

Inflammatory bowel disease represents a group of chronic intestinal disorders that cause continued inflammation of the digestive tract. The two most common diseases that fall under the IBD umbrella are Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. IBD is often diagnosed at an early age and has increased in prevalence across Europe in recent decades. 

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Incidence of IBD

  • The two most common forms of IBD are ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease
  • Adolescence or early adulthood are peak ages for the onset of IBD, though it may occur at any age
  • Ulcerative colitis is often equally distributed among men and women, whereas Crohn's disease is more common in women
  • A sharp rise in the incidence of IBD has been observed in many western countries since the early 1950s, making IBD one of the most common of all chronic inflammatory conditions
  • The combined prevalence of IBD has been reported to reach up to 396 per 100,000 people

Disease progression and treatment

  • Most patients will be treated with anti-inflammatory medication (e.g. 5-ASA, steroids), especially in patients with ulcerative colitis
  • Antibiotics may be used
  • Immunosuppressives (e.g. azathioprine, 6 mercaptopurine or methotrexate) are the main therapeutic agents
  • The use of corticosteroids should be limited
  • Biologicals are frequently used
  • Novel therapeutic agents are being developed and made available
  • For children and adolescents, growth and pubertal development are crucial
  • Nutritional therapy is beneficial to attain remission in children and adolescence
  • More research is needed to explore the benefit of particular diets
  • Surgery may be necessary in the case of strictures or fistulas in Crohn's disease
  • In ulcerative colitis patients, the entire colon may be removed, if there is no response to medication
IBD infographics

  • Useful resources
  • Patient organisations
Useful resources

ECCO-EFCCA Patient Guidelines (March 2016)

ECCO has joined forces EFCCA in order to develop the ECCO-EFCCA Patient Guidelines. Two taskforces, one focusing on Crohn’s Disease and the other one on Ulcerative Colitis, were formed consisting of patients, physicians and nurses from different European countries. Together the groups developed and published patient guidelines for Crohn’s and Colitis in 30 different languages. 

Access Guidelines

Pregnancy and IBD: An Interview with Dr. Uma Mahadevan

Read interview


Patient organisations

European Patient Organisations


The European Federation of Crohn's & Ulcerative Colitis Associations is an umbrella organisation representing 33 national patients’ associations. EFCCA aims to work to improve life for people with IBD and give them a louder voice and higher visibility across Europe and beyond. 

T: @efcca


National Patient Organisations

ÖMCCV - Österreichische Morbus Crohn / Colitis Ulcerosa Vereinigung (Austria)
Fundación Mas Vida de Crohn & Colitis Ulcerosa (Argentina)
CCV-vzw - Crohn en Colitis Ulcerosa vereniging vzw (Belgium)
RCUH - Association Crohn-RCUH (Belgium)
BCUCA - Bulgarian Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis Association (Bulgaria)
HUCUK - Hrvatsko udruzenje za Crohnovu bolest i ulcerozni colitis (Croatia)
CYCCA - Pancyprian Association of Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s (Cyprus)
IBD Patients zs (Czech Republic)
CCF - Colitis - crohn foreningen (Denmark)
CCAFIN - Crohn ja colitis ry (Finland)
AFA - Association françois aupetit – AFA (France)
DCCV.e.V. - Deutsche Morbus Crohn / Colitis Ulcerosa Vereinigung  (Germany)
HELLESCC - Hellenic Society of Crohn´s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis Patients (Greece)
MCCBE - Magyarországi crohn-colitises betegek egyesülete (Hungary)
CCU-SAMTÖKIN - Crohn’s og colitis ulcerosa samtökin (Iceland)
ISCC - Irish Society for Colitis and Crohn’s disease (Ireland)
AMICI - Associazione per le malattie infiammatorie croniche dell’ intestine (Italy)
The Israel Foundation for Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis (Israel)
MACC - Malta Association of Crohn’s and Colitis (Malta)
The Crohn’s and Colitis New Zealand Charitable Trust (New Zealand)
LMF - Landsforeningen mot fordøyelsessykdommer (Norway)
J-elita - Polskie Towarzystwo Wspierania Osób z Nieswoistymi Zapaleniami Jelita (Poland)
A.P.D.I. - associaçao portuguesa da doença inflamatória do intestine (Portugal)
ASPIIR - ASociatia Persoanelor cu boli Iflamatorii din Romania (Romania)
UKUKS - Udruzenje obolelih od Kronove bolesti i ulceroznog kolitisa Srbije (Serbia)
SCC - Slovak Crohn Club (Slovakia)
KVCB - Društvo za kronicno vnetno crevesno bolezen (Slovenia)
ACCU - Asociación de enfermos de Crohn y Colitis Ulcerosa de España (Spain)
Mag- och tarmförbundet (Sweden)
SMCCV - Schweizerische Morbus Crohn / Colitis Ulcerosa Vereinigung (Switzerland)
Crohn's and Colitis UK (UK)


Public Affairs & Advocacy Management
Andreea Botos
  • M: +43 699 1997 16 42
  • T: +43 1 997 16 39