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Cutaneous manifestations of inflammatory bowel disease

Author: Hon A/Prof Amanda Oakley, Dermatologist, Hamilton, New Zealand, September 2015.

What is inflammatory bowel disease?

There are two main forms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) – ulcerative colitis and Crohn disease. Both are characterised by abdominal pain and diarrhoea, sometimes with bleeding.

Although the two diseases are quite separate, accurate diagnosis can sometimes be difficult especially in the early stages. Therefore involvement of other organs can help to make the distinction.

Skin disease and IBD

DermNet NZ includes the following pages about inflammatory bowel disease:

Other disorders associated with inflammatory bowel disease

Some nonspecific conditions occur more commonly with IBD than in the general population, but also do occur without bowel disease, and the pathology is not diagnostic for the bowel disease.

These include:

IBD can lead to complications of malabsorption caused by the bowel inflammation or surgery, resulting in deficiencies in vitamins and minerals.

Skin reactions may also arise to medications prescribed for IBD.

Related information

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Skin lesion photography

Watch Dr Amanda Oakley presenting "Skin lesion photography" at The Australasian Skin Cancer Congress.

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