Marking World Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Day, 
Crohn’s & Colitis Ireland to Host  Major National Conference for People with IBD

Marking World Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Day on Sunday May 19, Crohn’s and Colitis Ireland is set to host a major national conference for people with IBD in Cork city. 

With approximately 40,000 people in Ireland living with inflammatory bowel disease or IBD, among the topics set to feature at the conference will be a talk on “Gut Feelings” with Principal Clinical Psychologist Dr. Jennifer Wilson O'Raghallaigh, focusing on dating and relationships. There will also be a presentation from registered dietitian and UCC senior lecturer Majella O’Keeffe on how to “Love your Gut” and eat well with IBD. 

The conference celebrates 40 years since Crohn’s and Colitis Ireland was first established to provide services and supports to IBD patients, their parents, partners, families and friends.

The conference gets underway in the Kingsley Hotel, Cork city, on Sunday May 19 from 12-6pm. People can attend in person or join in the livestream (2-4pm) – registration is free to members and now open at



Causes & Symptoms
IBD causes inflammation, swelling and ulceration of the intestines, and is not to be confused with irritable bowel syndrome, where there is no evidence of inflammation or ulceration. The two most common types of IBD are Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. In Crohn’s, inflammation can occur anywhere along the digestive tract, while in ulcerative colitis, it only affects the large bowel or colon.

People with IBD can experience times when their disease is in remission and when it is active. When active, most common symptoms are urgent and frequent bowel motions sometimes with blood, diarrhoea, nausea/vomiting, reduced appetite, weight loss, stomach cramps, and painful joints and skin rashes. There is currently no cure for IBD, but early diagnosis and treatment can help to stabilise the disease and provide a normal quality of life.

It is thought that factors such as genetics, gut bacteria, and the environment, may influence the onset of IBD. In managing IBD, a healthy balanced diet is recommended. Smoking is not advised, alcohol should only be drunk in moderation, and people should try to limit stress levels as best as possible, as each of these can make symptoms worse.

Prof. Glen Doherty, consultant gastroenterologist at St Vincent’s University Hospital in Dublin, has noticed an increase in the number of cases of IBD. He is highlighting the need for people to adopt a Mediterranean diet and reduce their intake of ultra-processed foods:

“We have seen a significant increase in the prevalence of Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis in the population over the last number of decades. Specifically, in the paediatric population, doctors at CHI Crumlin have noticed a three-fold increase in new cases over a ten-year period1. We see similar trends in adults and, overall, both Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis now affects an estimated one in every 125 people. 

“There is growing evidence to suggest that the development of inflammatory bowel disease may be related to things that the gut is exposed to in the world we live in, such as changes in gut bacteria from overuse of antibiotics or things in our diet. This is because our gut bacteria eat what we eat. There may also be a genetic component in many individuals as well. Ultra-processed foods made with the use of preservatives, emulsifiers, and stabilisers, may be having an effect too. Eating a Mediterranean diet, consuming lean meats and fish, fresh fruit, vegetables, olive oil, and so on, and avoiding ultra-processed foods, may help to reduce our risk.” 

For more information on the supports and services offered by Crohn’s and Colitis Ireland, call the Support Line on 01 531 2983 (Mon/Wed/Fri, 9.30am to 12.30pm) or visit