Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is a condition characterized by chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. The two types of IBD conditions are Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis.
Many people constantly wonder: is inflammatory bowel disease the same as IBS (irritable bowel syndrome)?
While the exact cause of IBD is still being studied, IBD is suspected to be caused by an abnormal immune response, in which the immune system attacks healthy tissues in the digestive tract. IBD can be hereditary.
Inflammatory bowel disease risk factors may include:
Inflammatory bowel disease symptoms include:
Your GI doctor will first ask you about your symptoms. If they suspect IBD, they can order a colonoscopy or endoscopy to look into your digestive tract and determine if there is inflammation. A biopsy, or a small tissue sample, can be taken to confirm the diagnosis.
Blood tests or stool sample tests can rule out other conditions.
While there is no cure for IBD, inflammatory bowel disease treatment is available to reduce inflammation and alleviate symptoms. This can include anti-inflammatory medication, immune-suppressing drugs, or antibiotics.
Lifestyle changes, involving developing a balanced diet to avoid specific trigger foods (such as high-fat or high-fiber foods, spicy foods, etc) can reduce discomfort. It is also advisable to reduce stress to avoid worsening symptoms.
If severe enough, surgery may be necessary to remove the damaged parts of the GI tract.
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