Causes of IBD

Is IBD genetic?

Several lines of evidence suggest that mutations in certain inherited genes likely contribute to the development of IBD.

Ethnic groups have genes in common, and IBD affects people in certain ethnic groups more than it does others. For example, Ashkenazi Jews (Jews with eastern European ancestors) are three to four times more likely to be affected by IBD than other groups.

The fact that IBD runs in families is also evidence that genetics are a factor.

The siblings of someone with Crohn’s disease are 30 times more likely to have the disease than people without an affected sibling.

The siblings of someone with ulcerative colitis are 10 to 20 times more likely to have ulcerative colitis than people without an affected sibling.

Studies of twins also suggest genes are involved. Identical twins, which have the same genes, are both more likely to have IBD than fraternal twins, who, like siblings, on average, half of their genes in common.


Do NSAIDs cause IBD?

Although they are anti-inflammatory, the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as celecoxib (Celebrex), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), and naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn) may contribute to the causation of IBD in some people.

Do antibiotics cause IBD?

IBD sometimes develops after antibiotic use, probably because because antibiotics disrupt the microbiome in the intestines. Gastrointestinal infections can also lead to IBD because they have a disruptive effect on the microbiome.

Is IBD an autoimmune disease?

Autoimmune diseases are caused by immune system turning its infection-fighting powers on the body.

There is an autoimmunity component to IBD.

But Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis seem to be caused by a “perfect storm” that activates the disease. Here are the three important contributing factors:

  1. A genetic predisposition to the disease. Several genes may be involved.
  2. A glitch in the immune system likely tied to those genetic factors
  3. Some exposure(s) that turn the switch on to activate the disease. Chemicals, food additives, antibiotics, and NSAIDs are among the possibilities.