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What Causes Inflammatory Bowel Disease?

The exact causes of inflammatory bowel disease are still uncertain, but experts believe it is related to a variety of factors including environment, diet and genetics. Recent research points to a genetic defect that influences how our immune system functions. This defect may be responsible for controlling how the body's protective inflammatory processes respond to things like bacteria, viruses or protein in food. In people with inflammatory bowel disease, the inflammatory process is turned on, but is never turned off. Smoking may also increase a person's risk of developing Crohn's disease.