Introduction

(Many IBDer's do not experience any of them).

The complications of IBD can extend to a wide variety of body systems. Extraintestinal manifestations are usually related to disease activity and can affect multiple organ systems, such as the eyes, skin, and joints, as well as gastrointestinal organs, including the liver and gall bladder. Ocular inflammation may involve either the sclera (episcleritis) or the anterior chamber (uveitis, iritis).

Furthermore, various forms of arthritis have been linked to IBD. Peripheral arthritis involves large joints in an asymmetric pattern and correlates directly with disease activity, whereas a central arthropathy (ankylosing spondylitis, sacrilitis) evolves independently from intestinal disease activity. These last conditions can progress despite curative proctocolectomy.

Bone mineral content may be decreased because of malabsorption caused by IBD or from the therapies used to control inflammation (especially corticosteroids). Additional manifestations related to the metabolic complications of small bowel malabsorption can be seen in patients with CD. These complications may include gallstones (due to bile salt wasting) and kidney stones (related to hyperoxaluria and steatorrhea).

In addition to these well-known complications, a variety of other issues are becoming increasingly important in clinical practice. These concerns include the long-term effects of both IBD and its treatment on bones, the optimal approach to managing IBD during pregnancy, and the need to address psychosocial manifestations of the disease.

The pages below have been set up to highlight potential problems.

Added June 2002 - Updated July 2003