Inflammatory Bowel Disease FAQs

This article, by an expert in Inflammatory Bowel Disease, answers patients' questions on this common bowel disorder. If you have further questions please contact us.


Do my children have an increased chance of getting IBD if I have it and should they be screened?

They do have an increased risk of roughly 5% of developing IBD, but that still means there is a 95% chance they will not and subsequently there is no need for any investigations unless of course they develop symptoms.

Will having IBD affect my chances of having children? 

Generally your fertility is not affected merely by having IBD. However, it is important to keep your disease well controlled before and during pregnancy since keeping well maximises your chance of conceiving and avoiding complications during pregnancy. Hence you should discuss your plans with your gastroenterologist prior to conceiving if possible, and certainly in early pregnancy. Some forms of surgery may decrease fertility, especially pouch surgery. However many women with pouches have had completely normal pregnancies and deliveries. Most medicines are safe to continue, though you should discuss this with your gastroenterologist. The main exceptions to this are mycophenolate and methotrexate, which should not be used before or after conception as they can cause severe damage to the baby. Whilst on this drug you and your partner are advised to use two forms of contraception

I am going travelling, should I have my vaccinations?

Having IBD does not prevent you having all your vaccinations, but some of the medicines you may take do restrict what you can take. If you are on immunosuppressant drugs such as azathioprine then you should not be given 'live' vaccines (for example BCG, yellow fever and polio) and you should always check with your doctor. 

Can you catch IBD?

No. There is no evidence that IBD is an infectious disease.

Where can I find out more information?

For excellent and clear guidance I recommend the website of the National Association for Crohn's and Colitis which has an excellent advice section.

A common name for the large and/or small intestines. Full medical glossary
The basic unit of all living organisms. Full medical glossary
A condition that is linked to, or is a consequence of, another disease or procedure. Full medical glossary
The fertilisation of an ovum by a sperm cell: the start of pregnancy. Full medical glossary
A means of preventing pregnancy. Full medical glossary
The raising of the body temperature above norma, which may be accompanied by symptoms such as shivering, headache and sweating. Full medical glossary
A doctor who specialises in the digestive system and its disorders. Full medical glossary
An abbreviation for inflammatory bowel disease, a group of inflammatory conditions of the intestine. The two major forms are Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Full medical glossary
A drug that suppresses the immune system, reducing the body’s resistance to infection. Full medical glossary
A large abdominal organ that has many important roles including the production of bile and clotting factors, detoxification, and the metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Full medical glossary
the period from conception to birth Full medical glossary
The means of producing immunity by stimulating the formation of antibodies. Full medical glossary