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.
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:
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:
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:
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:
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.