What is Inflammatory Bowel Disease?
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a group of disorders that result in the inflammation of the intestines. It is believed that an immune reaction causes the swelling and redness of the intestines, but it is not completely known. Two major types of IBD are ulcerative colitis and Chrohn’s disease.
What are the symptoms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease?
Symptoms of IBD may include:
- abdominal cramps and pain
- bloody diarrhea
- severe urgency to have a bowel movement
- weight loss
- loss of appetite
- and iron deficiency anemia due to blood loss
The severity of the symptoms often depends on which portion of the intestine is involved.
What Causes Inflammatory Bowel Disease?
The exact cause of IBD is still unknown. Some trigger or combination of triggers causes the body to produce an inflammatory reaction within the intestinal tract. This trigger could be a variety of things, such as bacteria, viruses, or an antigen. Others suggest that the cause may be the body’s own tissue that causes the autoimmune response.
What Increases My Risk of Developing Inflammatory Bowel Disease?
- Age – IBD can occur at any age; however you are most at risk of developing it between the ages of 15 and 35.
- Ethnicity – All ethnicities have a chance to develop IBD, but if you’re Jewish and of European descent you are 4-5 times more likely to develop the condition.
- Family History – If a close family member has IBD you have a greater chance of developing the condition as well. However, if your brother or sister are diagnosed you are 30 times more likely to develop the condition than the general public.
- Location – Those living in an urban area or in an industrialized country are at higher risk of developing IBD.
How is Inflammatory Bowel Disease Diagnosed?
There are a variety of tests that need to be done before confirming IBD. Many of these tests are used to simply rule out other conditions. Some of these tests may include: blood tests; barium enema; flexible sigmoidoscopy; and colonoscopy.
How Inflammatory Bowel Disease Treated?
IBD can be treated through various methods. The main goal of medical treatment is to reduce inflammation that causes the symptoms of the condition. By treating the condition this way, short and long term relief may be achieved. There are many different medications to treat the condition. Some drugs may not work the same way in everyone. Consult your doctor about different medications. Some of the treatment options include: anti-inflammatory drugs; immune system suppressors; antibiotics; nicotine patches; anti-diarrheals; laxatives; pain relievers; iron supplements; and vitamin B-12 injections.
Medications for Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Some common medication used to treat IBD include: