WHAT IS INFLAMMATORY BOWEL DISEASE?

In simple terms, we can regard the inflammatory bowel disease as a form of the disorder that directly involves severe inflammation of the digestive system. It is commonly referred to as the acronym IBD. Typically, the human digestive system consists of the mouth, stomach, esophagus, small intestine, and large intestine.

Our body needs to extract and break down nutrients from food into tiny bits that could be easily absorbed, that’s why the digestive system is so important. It also aids the removal of waste or toxic end products that might have been produced from the things we consume.

Free bowel movement in the body is very crucial to health. When the bowel passage is blocked, it causes the said unwanted substances to remain in the body, which can be very dangerous. So, while many might not actually pay proper attention to what is being ingested into the body, the digestive tract has a way of paying for such negligence.

CAUSES OF IBD

Immune system Response to Stimuli

While the exact causes of Inflammatory Bowel Disease might not be known. Research shows that it stems from the body’s immune system. The body’s response to different stimuli differ. Sometimes, the immune system can overreact to certain bacteria in the digestive tract. It continually fights off the bacteria by trying to remove it and causes inflammation in the course.

Other Causes

Some people speculate that stress might be a cause for IBD but there’s no evidence to back such claim. Although stress has been found to worsen the symptoms in severe conditions. Some researchers suggest that hereditary traits could be a factor, but there is no solid theory backing it. However, you are at a higher risk of developing the disease if there is someone in your family that has gone had the disease.

TYPES OF IBD

The Two Most Common Type Of IBD Are:

Ulcerative Colitis: Usually, the Ulcerative colitis mostly affects the large intestine (colon) and rectum in the body. It causes the inflammation of the large intestine. There are soreness and redness on the surface of the innermost lining of the large intestine or rectum. Ulcerative colitis causes continuous damage to the area affected by the swelling on the large intestine. Bleeding and production of pus can also appear.

Crohn’s Disease: Crohn’s disease can cause damages to any part of the digestive system, unlike the Ulcerative colitis that only affects the large intestine and rectum. All parts of the digestive tract ranging from the mouth to the rectum are susceptible to an attack from Crohn’s disease. Inflammation often appears in patches on affected areas around the intestines or stomach. Healthy tissues can surround the damaged area. The soreness runs deep into the tissues and not just the surface. Most times, it affects the small intestine before moving to the colon.

SYMPTOMS OF IBD

Inflammatory bowel disease can give rise to quite a number of symptoms. It is important to check out for these symptoms early. Symptoms can range from mild to severe. Sometimes, the symptoms might even disappear for a while and return in a more violent manner. The medical phrase for this occurrence is remission and flare-up.

Ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, and other types of IBD mostly have similar symptoms that can include:

  • Fatigue: You constantly feel tired and unable to perform your normal activities. Your body lacks the energy to expend for anything. When there’s inflammation in the digestive tract, it causes overwhelming fatigue in the body. You begin to feel incessantly drowsy or sleepy and generally tired.

  • Diarrhea: Most times, when one is infected with inflammatory bowel disease, the body won’t be able to reabsorb water appropriately. When this occurs, it causes diarrhea. You begin to pass watery stools frequently. Sometimes, you might need to visit the toilet more than five times a day. Diarrhea might often occur due to food poisoning, but when it’s continuous, you need to check for IBD as it’s one of the common symptoms.

  • Abdominal Cramps And Pain: When you have IBD, it blocks bowel movement and causes accumulation of undigested foods in the stomach. You suddenly begin to have sharp pain or cramps in the abdominal region. The pain can be severe or mild; it differs in numerous persons. Bloating could also occur in the stomach when there is a disturbance in the movement of the muscles of the digestive tract. This results in pain and discomfort in the stomach. When such discomforts persist, one should suspect IBD.
  • Rectal bleeding: It is a very common symptom of inflammatory bowel disease. You begin to pass blood during stooling because of sores that might be in the rectum. The lining of the rectum could have a fissure that becomes irritated when using the toilet.

  • Loss Of Appetite: You suddenly begin to feel nauseous and have a reduced desire to eat with IBD. Some people even tend to vomit immediately after the meal.

  • Weight Loss: Weight loss is another characteristic symptom of IBD. When infected with it, you can start to experience unintentional weight loss. Incessant diarrhea can lead up to losing weight because the body is not absorbing the proper nutrients it requires. Also, appetite loss won’t allow eating good foods to replenish lost nutrients. So, you need to be wary of IBD when you notice sharp weight loss.

  • Skin Problem: Inflammatory bowel disease could also cause other problems that might not be inclined with the digestive system. A very good example of that symptom is rashes on the skin. When you have IBD, you may see signs of eczema, acne, and other kinds of skin disorders.

Other symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease can include:

  • Fever

  • Joint pain and arthritis

  • Eye inflammation

  • Iron deficiency anemia, etc.   

RISK FACTORS OF IBD

Research has shown that there are quite a number of factors that can put one at risk of getting the symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease. Some of the cause or factors have no scientific proof, but here are some of the factors that put you at risk for IBD:        

  • Age Factor: People above the age of 45 are more susceptible to IBD compared to the younger ones due to a weaker immune system.

  • Family history: Although it is not proven that IBD is hereditary, you can still be at a high risk of getting infected if a close relative has had IBD. Close relatives can be parents, children, or siblings.

  • Smoking: People who smoke are at very high risk. The effect of smoking on the total health of the body can be life-threatening. It weakens the immune system and your body can easily be infected. Smokers who are diagnosed with IBD are always advised to quit smoking immediately.
  • Race: Anyone from any ethnicity or race can be infected with IBD. While this is very true, some races such as the average white person or Jewish tend to be at a higher risk of the disease.

  • Residence: People who live in industrialized areas tend to eat more processed foods than organic. Those foods contain a lot of fats and additives. Consuming them regularly can put you at the risk of IBD.

  • Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Medications (NSAIDs): Usage of all these kinds of drugs might increase a person’s risk of developing IBD. Examples include Ibuprofen, Diclofenac sodium, etc. They can even worsen a case of IBD when taken with the disease present in the body.

Treatment For IBD

There are a number of available medications for the treatment of Inflammatory Bowel disease. Common examples include:

  • Anti-Inflammatory Drugs: Although prescribing anti-inflammatory drugs is dependent on the affected areas in the intestine, it’s one of the basic treatments for IBD. Aminosalicylates and Corticosteroids are common types of anti-inflammatory drugs for treating Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

  • Immunosuppressants: These drugs suppress the immune system from overreacting to certain bacteria stimuli, thereby reducing the inflammation in the digestive tract. Examples of Immunosuppressants are mercaptopurine, cyclosporine, azathioprine, etc.

Other types of medication that can also be used to treat IBD are:

  • Antibiotics

  • Iron and vitamin supplements, etc.

Surgery could be considered for more severe cases in Ulcerative colitis. It’s recommended because it only affects the large intestine or rectum. Surgery for Crohn’s disease is not long term so it’s advisable to go for other treatment options.

How to Prevent IBD

To prevent IBD, you need to adopt some lifestyles like:

  • Quit Smoking: Smokers are at a high risk of developing IBD.

  • Do A Lot Of Exercises: Physical exercise aids digestion.
  • Eat Healthily: Organic food is easily digested than processed food.

Conclusion:

Inflammatory bowel disease might not be a fatal infection but it can incur life-threatening symptoms. Early diagnosis is very important when one has IBD so you need to pay attention to the symptoms. If diagnosed early, treatment will be able to follow immediately to suppress the symptoms. Furthermore, you can avoid unnecessary complications. A number of complications like intestinal bleeding, rupture of the bowel, fistula, malnutrition, can occur if not properly treated.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Chisara

    This is Very educative looking forward to work on the steps so to achieve a good result and live healthy

    1. Bestmicrobial

      Yes, Chisa these steps can certainly help.. Thanks for your comments

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