FICTION: Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) are the same thing.
FACTS: It’s easy to confuse IBD and IBS, since they occur in the same part of the body (your gastrointestinal system) and often share similar symptoms, like pain and diarrhea. But there are significant differences. For example, a hallmark of IBD is chronic inflammation of the digestive tract that sometimes flares, whereas IBS is a functional disorder of the intestines that does not involve active inflammation. Keep in mind that, 30% to 40% of the time, a person may have both IBD and IBS, since once the bowel is inflamed for any reason, an irritable bowel may develop due to heightened sensitivity.