GI Health | Inflammatory Bowel Disease
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Types and Symptoms

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) – including ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease – are chronic inflammatory conditions of all or part of the digestive tract. IBD is an autoimmune condition where the body’s immune system misrecognizes the patient’s body as being foreign, and attacking the digestive system. IBDs cause diarrhea, pain, bloody stool, fatigue and weight loss – and can even lead to other medical complications.

Ulcerative Colitis

An inflammatory bowel disease that causes inflammation and ulcers in the inner lining of the large intestine (colon) and rectum. The inflammation seen with ulcerative colitis always starts at the anus and proceeds upwards in a continuous manner. Inflammation can extend to the rectum (proctitis), the left side of the colon, or the entire colon (pan-colitis).

Crohn’s Disease

Crohn’s dissease can cause inflammation anywhere in the GI tract, from mouth to anus. It most typically involves the last part of the small intestine (or the terminal ileum) and the colon. Crohn’s disease can be complicated by anal fistula (openings near the anus), stricturing or narrowing of the intestine, abcess/infection or perforation.

IBD Diagnosis

A variety of tests may be performed to diagnose IBD, including blood tests, stool tests, colonoscopy, upper endoscopy and capsule endoscopy.

IBD Treatment

Depending on the severity, location, and prior treatment history of the IBD, a GI doctor may prescribe a series of medications, including:

  • Anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Immune system suppressors
  • Antibiotics
  • Pain relievers
  • Anti-diarrhea medicine
  • Calcium and vitamin D supplements
  • Iron supplements
  • B-12 shots
  • Diet modification

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