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Understanding Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD): Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

There are mainly two types of IBD-- Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Crohn’s disease causes pain and swelling in the digestive tract (from the mouth to the anus). It most commonly affects the small intestine, while, Ulcerative colitis causes swelling, redness and sores in the large intestine (colon and rectum).

Health Desk Written by: Health Desk New Delhi Published on: February 02, 2022 14:24 IST
Inflammatory Bowel Disease
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Understanding Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD): Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) a chronic inflammatory disease of the intestine, includes Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Both types affect the digestive system. Prolonged inflammation results in damage to Gastrointestinal (GI) tract. There are mainly two types of IBD-- Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Crohn’s disease causes pain and swelling in the digestive tract (from the mouth to the anus). It most commonly affects the small intestine, while, Ulcerative colitis causes swelling, redness and sores in the large intestine (colon and rectum).

Symptoms of IBD

  • Persistent diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Rectal bleeding/bloody stools
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Gas and bloating
  • Upset stomach
  • Nausea and vomiting

Causes of IBD

The exact cause of IBD is unknown, but it is a result of defective, bad or unhealthy immune system. However, IBD also appears to be a genetic component—someone with a family history of IBD is more likely to develop it. Study reveals 'as many as 1 in 4 people with IBD have a family history of the disease.'

The disease can also occur from environmental issues including smoking, stress, depression, bad lifestyle, medication among others.

Treatment of IBD 

There are a number of different treatments for IBD.

  • Several types of medications may be used to treat IBD. Anti-inflammatory drugs are the first step in IBD treatment. These drugs help decrease inflammation of the digestive tract. 
  • Corticosteroids: Commonly referred to as steroids, It are a type of anti-inflammatory drug. 
  • Antibiotics and injections: Several vaccinations for patients with IBD are recommended to prevent infections.
  • Severe IBD may require surgery to remove damaged portions of the gastrointestinal tract, but advances in treatment with medications mean that surgery is less common.
  • Vitamins and supplements like probiotics, 'helpful' bacteria as they help keep your gut healthy.

(With inputs from CDC)

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