Korean J Intern Med.  2022 Sep;37(5):885-894. 10.3904/kjim.2022.138.

Inflammatory bowel disease in Korea: epidemiology and pathophysiology

  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Samsung Changwon Hospital, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Changwon, Korea
  • 2Department of Internal Medicine, Hanyang University Guri Hospital, Hanyang University College of Medicine, Guri, Korea


Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) refers to a group of disorders, including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, that exhibit similar but distinct manifestations. These diseases are characterized by refractory and chronic inflammation of the bowel. IBD is usually accompanied by severe symptoms. When a patient presents with suspected IBD, physicians encounter various challenges in terms of diagnosis and treatment. In addition, given such characteristics, the associated medical expenses gradually increase. Although IBD was formerly known as a disease of Western countries, the incidence and prevalence are increasing in Korea. Korean investigators have accumulated a great deal of knowledge about the regional characteristics and epidemiology of the disease, especially via well-organized, joint cohort studies. Against this background, this article describes the epidemiology of IBD in Korea compared to that in the West. In addition, an overview of the pathophysiology of the disease is provided, focusing on the latest results.


Inflammatory bowel diseases; Korea; Epidemiology; Pathophysiology
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