Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis

Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis | HealthSoul

Inflammatory bowel disease is often called IBD. It occurs when the digestive tract is chronically inflamed. There are two types of IBD: ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disease. Both can be debilitating. If left untreated or undiagnosed, they can lead to fatal complications. There are treatments available to relieve the symptoms of IBD and reduce the risk of severe complications.

IBD Causes

The cause of IBD is unknown. There are certain factors that can aggravate the disease and some that might increase the risk of getting the disease. These things include:

  • Age
  • Race
  • Family history
  • Smoking
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Diet
  • Stress
  • Environment

IBD Symptoms

Whether the patient is suffering from ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease, the symptoms are the same. Some people might experience mild symptoms, and others might experience severe ones. Some people have episodes where they experience severe symptoms for days or weeks at a time, and they have small periods of relief in between these episodes. The symptoms include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Fever and fatigue
  • Abdominal pain and cramping
  • Blood in your stool
  • Reduced appetite
  • Unintended weight loss

IBD Diagnosis

Diagnosing IBD can be difficult, and most of the time, a doctor will have to resort to ruling out other illnesses before confirming IBD. There are several tests that can help them make the correct diagnosis. These tests include:

  • Blood Tests: Blood tests can check for anemia and or infections that can suggest IBD.
  • Fecal Blood Test: Doctors will test the stool for any signs of blood.
  • Colonoscopy: Doctors insert a small tube with a camera and light into the rectum to see what problems are inside.
  • EndoscopyA tube or capsule is inserted into the body to check for problems in the intestines and along the digestive tract.
  • X-Ray: Doctors can look at the inside of the stomach, esophagus, and intestines to see if there are any tumors, growths, or other problems in the digestive tract.
  • MRI: MRIs can give doctors a look into the body of the patient to check for any other problems that could be causing the symptoms.

IBD Treatment

Treatment is focused on reducing inflammation in the bowels and controlling symptoms. Once the inflammation is under control, the symptoms subside and the risk of complications goes down. Treatment options include:

  • Anti-inflammatory medications: This medication helps reduce swelling and inflammation and can improve the symptoms of IBD.
  • Immune system suppressors: This medication helps stop the immune system from causing inflammation in the digestive tract.
  • Antibiotics: This can help clear up infections that could be causing the IBD or that are the result of it.

Other medications can be prescribed to help relieve the symptoms These include:

  • Anti-diarrhea medication
  • Pain medication
  • Iron supplements
  • Calcium supplements
  • Vitamin D supplements

IBD Prognosis

Some people respond well to treatment, and some suffer from IBD throughout their lives. It is important to try different treatments to see which ones work best. Nutritional therapy can also help. People who suffer from IBD should always monitor their symptoms and alert doctors if they notice any changes, as this could be a sign of an infection or other complications.