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Inflammatory Bowel Disease

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Introduction

In Inflammatory Bowel Disease, there is chronic inflammation in the digestive system. It mainly includes ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease (inflammation of the digestive tract). Symptoms of severe pain, diarrhea, rapid weight loss, and fatigue are usually seen in both these diseases. In many cases, inflammatory bowel disease may become less active, and sometimes it can cause significant harm.

  • ● Crohn’s disease is a type of IBD that causes long-term inflammation and ulcers in the large and the inner intestine of the rectum.
  • ● Ulcerative colitis is also considered an inflammatory bowel disease, but it is usually placed in a slightly different category than traditional Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

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What are the Causes of Inflammatory Bowel Disease?

The exact cause of Inflammatory Bowel Disease is not yet known. It was believed that a person’s diet and stress are the causes of IBD. But these are only risk factors, not the real cause of the disease. Some doctors believe that one of the causes of Inflammatory Bowel Diseasee may be disease resistant. When our immune system fights a dangerous virus or bacteria present in the body, it sometimes damages the tissues of the digestive tract. This creates inflammation in the digestive system.

What are the Symptoms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease?

Symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease depend on the severity of the disease. Symptoms may be acute or mild.

  • Diarrhea: It is the most common problem in patients with inflammatory bowel disease. Every patient suffers from this symptom of IBD.
  • Fever and fatigue: You may have a mild fever and feel tired all the time.
  • Stomach aches and cramps: Ulcer and swelling affect the working of your digestive system, which causes pain and cramps in your stomach. You may also vomit or experience nausea.
  • Blood in the stool: You may have bright or dark red blood in your stool. It may cause bleeding inside the anus.
  • Loss of appetite: Abdominal pain, cramps, and bloating can affect your appetite.
  • Weight loss: You may lose weight and become malnourished as your body does not properly absorb the nutrients available in the food.

How is Inflammatory Bowel Disease Diagnosed?

Your doctor will ask about your bowel movement difficulties and your family’s medical history to diagnose Inflammatory Bowel Disease. After this, the following tests can be done:

  • A blood test: Blood tests can determine the presence of infections and other diseases. With a blood test, your doctor checks for anemia. However, a diagnosis of inflammatory bowel disease cannot be made by blood tests alone.
  • A stool test: You may need a stool test. It allows doctors to examine the organisms (like parasites) or blood hidden in the stool.
  • A barium enema: It is an X-ray examination used to check the small intestine and colon.
  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy and colonoscopy: In these procedures, a camera-fitted thin and flexible device is used to view the colon. The camera is inserted through your anus and helps your doctor check for ulcers, cancer, and other possible diseases. Sometimes, a small sample of the intestine is taken, and viewing it under a microscope can help diagnose inflammatory bowel disease.
  • Capsule endoscopy: Through this test, the doctor inspects your small intestine. In this, you swallow a capsule that travels through your stomach and intestine. It keeps taking pictures inside as it passes. Once this capsule comes out of the stool, these images can be viewed on the computer. This test is used when other tests cannot define the causes or symptoms of Crohn’s disease. Capsule endoscopy can not be performed if the patient has a bowel obstruction.
  • CT scan and MRI: A CT scan is a high-level X-ray that provides higher quality images than a normal X-ray. With this, other diseases of the intestine, including IBD, can be detected.

How is Inflammatory Bowel Disease Treated?

The treatment of Inflammatory Bowel Disease aims to eliminate the symptoms that cause inflammation and pain in the intestine. Inflammatory Bowel Disease is treated through drugs or surgery.

  • Anti-inflammatory drugs: These drugs are the first option to treat IBD. These drugs reduce inflammation of the digestive system. However, there may be some side effects.
  • Immunosuppressants: These drugs prevent the immune system from damaging the intestine and causing inflammation. They can have side effects such as rashes and infections.
  • Antibiotics: Antibiotics help kill bacteria of the colon, abdomen, and intestine.
  • Lifestyle Changes. Lifestyle changes are necessary to get rid of inflammatory bowel disease. Drinking more fluids helps compensate for the damage to your stool. Avoid dairy products, follow an exercise regime, quit smoking, and lower your stress levels to improve your condition. These lifestyle changes can treat the disease completely. If nutrition is low, your doctor may suggest supplements with other medications.

What are the types of Surgery for Inflammatory Bowel Disease?

If lifestyle changes, anti-inflammatory drugs, or other treatments cannot treat IBD, you may need surgery. IBD can be treated through these two surgeries:

  • Surgery for ulcerative colitis: Through this surgery, the entire rectum and colon are removed. After this, a new rectum (J-pouch, which is j-shaped) is constructed near the small intestine and is attached to the anus. You can easily have bowel movements after recovering from this surgery.
  • Surgery for Crohn’s disease: This is not a permanent cure for Crohn’s disease. The disease may come back even after surgery. This surgery is also used to cure fistulas.

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FAQ's

What Happens if IBD is not Treated?

Untreated Inflammatory Bowel Disease can cause:

  • ● Colon cancer
  • ● Bursting of intestines
  • ● Malnutrition
  • ● Intestinal obstruction, constipation

Does being Older Increase the Risk of IBD?

There is a high risk of IBD after crossing the age of 30. However, some people may suffer from IBD after the age of 60.

Does Smoking Relieve Ulcerative Colitis?

Smoking does not cure Ulcerative Colitis but may help treat it. However, smoking can be dangerous in Crohn’s disease.

If I have a Fistula or Fissure Due to IBD, what will be Treated First?

Your doctor will diagnose your disease and suggest proper treatment. Surgery can also be considered in this situation.

Can Inflammatory Bowel Disease Cause Dehydration?

IBD causes diarrhea, which can cause dehydration.

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