What Are Some Causes of Bowel Inflammation?

Possible causes of bowel inflammation include immune system malfunction and genetics, as noted by Mayo Clinic. People who have a parent or sibling suffering from inflammatory bowel disease, or IBD, are more likely to get the disease, claims Healthline. The exact cause of IBD is, however, not known.

An abnormal immune response by the body when trying to fight harmful virus or bacteria can cause the immune system to attack body cells in the gastrointestinal tract leading to inflammation, states Mayo Clinic. IBD involves prolonged inflammation of the digestive tract, and its main types are Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, according to Healthline. Crohn's disease can occur in any part of the gastrointestinal tract, but it commonly affects the small intestines, whereas ulcerative colitis affects the large intestines.

Smoking increases the risk of developing Crohn's disease, worsens the pain and other symptoms of the disease, and raises the risk of complications. Ulcerative colitis mainly affects non-smokers and ex-smokers. Persons with a family history of IBD as well as certain ethnic groups, such as Caucasians and Ashkenazi Jews, have a higher risk of developing IBD, reports Healthline.

Taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications can increase the risk of IBD or aggravate the disease in patients who already have it. Most IBD cases occur before patients are 30 years old, but some people develop the illness in their 50s or 60s. Environmental factors, such as living in an industrialized country or urban area, taking refined foods or living in the northern climates, can increase the risk of getting IBD, observes Mayo Clinic.