Things to know
- There is no cure for IBD, medication can only manage it, and surgery might prevent alleviation of symptoms
- IBD affects the quality of life of the patients due to sudden complications
- IBD is usually confused with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), though their symptoms might be similar, but their treatment varies
About Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a term used to describe the conditions that lead to chronic inflammation of the digestive system. IBD is a life-long condition of the digestive tract. In this condition, the gastrointestinal tract is enlarged, inflamed and ulcerated. The inflammation in the stomach disrupts the natural digesting process, which includes absorbing the right amount of nutrition and removing fat in the right way.
Types of Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are two types of conditions included under the umbrella term inflammatory bowel diseases.
It is the inflammation and soreness of the large intestine in the digestive tract and can also cause other non-digestive issues. Inflammation is present only in the innermost layer of the bowel and does not affect the deeper layer or other parts of the gastrointestinal tract as it follows a continuous pain pattern.
In this type of IBD, there are signs of inflammation in the gut, that is, in the lining of the digestive tract and it can affect any part of the GI tract. Colon is one of the most affected parts of Crohn’s disease as there are patches of damaged tissues which start to appear around the healthy tissues. Inflammation can penetrate the many layers of the GI tract.
Symptoms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
The symptoms of IBD differ and depend on the severity of the inflammation and the location in the body where it has appeared.
- Abdominal cramps
- Bloody stools
- Weight loss
- Reduced appetite
- Feeling bloated
- Stomach upset
- Nausea and vomiting
Inflammatory Bowel Disease Causes
Though the specific aetiology of IBD is unknown, one theory is that an immune system failure causes it. When the immune system tries to fight invading viruses and bacteria, the immune system becomes disorganized and injured, and it responds improperly to environmental triggers, causing gastrointestinal inflammation. By environmental factors, it means people who have a history of IBD in their family or people who smoke and are anxious and depressed.
IBD was often thought to be caused by poor lifestyles and mental stress, but doctors now know that these variables may aggravate IBD but are not the cause.
Complications in Inflammatory Bowel Disease
There can be some possible complications in IBD.
- Severe weight loss
- Colon cancer
- Intestinal rupture
- Bowel obstruction
- In rare cases, shock can occur
Diagnosis of Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Inflammatory Bowel Disease can be diagnosed using the following methods:-
- Endoscopy can be done for diagnosing Crohn’s disease
- Colonoscopy can be done for diagnosing ulcerative colitis
- Doctors may check stool samples to make sure symptoms are not due to infection
- Computed tomography or radiography are conducted to diagnose the severity of IBD
Treatment of Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Treatment of IBD may help to lower the long term remission and decrease the risks and complications. Certain medications help relieve the signs and symptoms at the early stages of the IBD.
Immune System Suppressors
These medications dampen the immune response, which sends inflammation-inducing substances into the body in a variety of ways. If these substances are not suppressed, they can harm the lining of the digestive tract.
Antibiotics are given along with other treatment options or if the damage or complications are more, as in the case of perianal Crohn’s disease.
Other Medications and Supplements
Depending on the severity of the disease, the doctors recommend anti-diarrheal medications, vitamin and nutritional supplements and some pain relievers to avoid worsening the disease.
Medication and treatment can help in reducing inflammation and increase the length of periods of remission, but the truth is there is no cure. It can be controlled and managed, but no complete cure has been found for Inflammatory bowel diseases.
Probiotics can help reduce inflammation but should only be taken on doctors recommendation.