What Is The Difference Between IBD And IBS?

When it comes to gastrointestinal health, there are two common problems that are confused with each other. Though Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Irritable Bowel Disease may have a few similar symptoms, they are different from each other.


  1. IBS does not affect the tissues of the bowel and is a non-inflammatory disease while IBD causes chronic inflammation of tissues in the gastrointestinal tract
  2. IBS is a disorder and not a disease as the cause for it is not known while Irritable Bowel Disease is a true disease


  • Both conditions are characterized by pain in the abdomen, diarrhea, and constipation
  • Both are chronic conditions
  • Both conditions involve the gastrointestinal tract

Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Disease

Depending on which part of the gastrointestinal tract is affected, it is classified as

  1. Crohn’s disease – Inflammation of the digestive tract with inflammation affecting deep tissues
  2. Ulcerative colitis–Inflammation of the innermost lining of the colon and rectum

The symptoms of both Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are similar and are listed below.

  • Diarrhea– This is the most common symptom
  • Fever – A very low-grade fever may be present
  • Fatigue – The person might feel tired or in general have very low energy levels
  • Abdominal pain and cramping–Movement of food against inflamed tissues causes pain and cramping
  • Blood in stool – Bright red or dark blood mixed in stool
  • Loss of appetite or reduced appetite – This is usually a result of abdominal cramping and pain
  • Weight loss–As there is difficulty in digesting the food there is weight loss and in severe cases can even lead to malnourishment.

Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

The following are the symptoms of IBS

  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Alternating diarrhea and constipation
  • Abdominal pain
  • Abdominal cramping