Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), is a chronic gastrointestinal condition that lasts a lifetime. Various parts of the digestive system, including the bowels (intestines), become swollen, inflamed, and ulcerated in certain conditions. This inflammation interferes with the natural functions of digestion, absorption of nutrients, and elimination of waste. Every individual has a different body type; some people suffer a mild condition with minimal flare-ups, while others have more serious disorders. There is no treatment for IBD at present, although medications and, in rare cases, surgery could provide long-term relief from symptoms.

Types of IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease)

There are three types of IBD:

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

Symptoms

IBD symptoms can vary depending on the type, location, and intensity. Common IBD symptoms include


When to see a doctor?

If you have a consistent change in bowel movements or any signs and symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease, you must see a doctor. Although inflammatory bowel disease is rarely fatal, it may sometimes lead to life-threatening consequences. Most patients with IBD are used to having the occasional unusual symptoms, which are sometimes linked to another disease characteristic. However, if passing out and an irregular heartbeat is followed by other serious symptoms such as loss of sensation in an arm or leg, see a gastroenterologist immediately.

Get the best treatment for IBD from our Gasteroentologists at Medicover Hospitals.


Causes and risks

Researchers are still working to identify why some people develop IBD. These three factors appear to play a pivotal role:

Genetics:

One in every four patients with IBD has a family history of the disease.

Immune system response:

Normally, the immune system fights infections. However, the immune system mistakes foods for foreign substances in persons with IBD. It produces antibodies (proteins) to fight this danger, leading to IBD symptoms.

Environmental triggers:

People with an IBD family history may get the condition after exposure to an environmental trigger. Smoking, stress, medication usage, and depression are some of these causes.


Risk Factors

The risk factors for IBD are:

Age:

Most patients with IBD are diagnosed before the age of 30. However, some people do not develop the condition until they are in their 50s or even 60s.

Family history:

A person is at higher risk of IBD if they have a family history, such as a parent, sibling or child with the disease.

Smoking:

Cigarette smoking is the most important risk factor for developing Crohn's disease, a type of IBD.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications:

Include ibuprofen, naproxen sodium, and diclofenac sodium. These drugs may raise the probability of getting IBD or worsen the condition in patients who already have it.

Complications

Unfortunately, having inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) or taking the medications used to treat it puts you at risk of complications and other conditions. These examples include

  • Vitamin and mineral deficiencies
  • Bowel cancer
  • Fistulas
  • Bile acid malabsorption (BAM)
  • Intestinal abscesses
  • Slow growth in children
  • Osteoporosis
  • Intestinal strictures
  • Toxic megacolon
  • Bowel rupture
  • Pyoderma gangrenosum
  • Eye disorders
  • Kidney disorders
  • Liver disorders
  • Joint pain, arthritis and fibromyalgia
  • Anxiety and depression

Prevention

Although IBD cannot be prevented, there are diet adjustments patients may adopt to reduce symptoms. The best thing you can do is look after yourself. It is important to maintain a healthy diet. Depending on the symptoms, the doctor may recommend patients to limit their consumption of fibre or dairy products. Caffeine, alcohol, and carbonated beverages must also be reduced or avoided. In addition to eating correctly, you should get adequate rest and exercise regularly. It's also important to understand how to deal with stress.


Diagnosis

If you suspect you have IBD, contact the doctor immediately. The doctor will enquire about your symptoms to make a diagnosis. A complete blood count (CBC) and stool test may be conducted to look for signs of intestinal inflammation. Patients may also be referred to one or more of the following diagnostic tests:

Blood tests:

Your blood will be analysed in a lab to check for inflammation, signs of IBD, and anaemia.

Colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy:

Both procedures involve doctors inserting a long, thin tube with a lighted camera into the anus while you are sedated (unconscious). The image is displayed on a screen. The doctor examines the lining of the bottom part of the large intestine during a sigmoidoscopy. During a colonoscopy, the doctor examines the lining of the large intestine and a small part of the small intestine. The doctor will search for any inflammation, bleeding, or ulcers.

Stool sample:

The doctor will send your stool sample to be tested for blood infections and other indicators of IBD-related inflammation.

Upper endoscopy:

While you are sedated, the doctor will insert an endoscope, a flexible tube with a camera, into the oesophagus (food pipe), stomach, and small intestine to examine the lining. During this treatment, the doctor may obtain a tissue sample.

CT scan:

A CT scan captures X-rays from various angles around the body. The doctor looks for signs of inflammation in the X-rays.

CT or magnetic resonance (MR) enterography:

CT enterography examines the digestive system using a special type of X-ray. An MR enterography is another method of examining the digestive system which does not use X-ray radiation. Patients are asked to drink a liquid containing a dye or contrast solution for both procedures. The solution colours the digestive tract, allowing doctors to spot troubled regions using X-rays or magnetic fields.

Capsule endoscopy:

The capsule endoscope is a tiny, pill-shaped camera that patients ingest. The camera then passes through the intestinal tract. It captures footage of the small intestine and delivers it to a screen where the doctor can examine it.


Treatment

Treatments for IBD may include

Medicines:

Most patients with IBD use medicines to manage their symptoms.

Surgery:

If medication does not manage the symptoms, surgery may be an alternative.

Steps you can take at home:

Talk to your doctor about what you can do at home to help control your symptoms and prevent flare-ups.

Changes in your eating habits:

Avoiding some foods, modifying other eating habits, and limiting or eliminating alcohol may help regulate symptoms during flare-ups.

Lifestyle Changes and Self Care:

Certain dietary and lifestyle factors might worsen IBD symptoms, while others can help control them. You may try the following for better management of your symptoms.

  • Consume small meals every two to four hours.
  • Find healthy stress-management techniques such as meditation, activities such as badminton, listening to music, or going for a walk.
  • Get plenty of rest and keep yourself physically active.
  • Maintain a food diary to identify foods that cause IBD flares. You might discover a dietary intolerance, such as lactose intolerance. If this is the case, you will experience stomach distress.
  • Reduce stimulants to the intestine, such as fibrous, spicy, fatty, or milk-based meals. Choose soft, bland meals that are less inflammatory during flares.
  • Limit your intake of caffeinated, carbonated, and alcoholic beverages. To avoid dehydration, drink more water.
  • Stop smoking.

Dos and Don’ts

When you have IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease), how you eat and what you eat can contribute to the symptoms. Every patient is different and no diet is suitable for everyone suffering from this condition. Talk to your doctor to find out what's best for you. Don't go on any extreme diets. Inquire about healthy lifestyle adjustments that can help with your unique condition. Here are some important dos and don'ts to help manage the negative consequences of this disease.

Do’sDon’ts
Try working out moderately for 30 mins daily Drink caffeinated and carbonated drinks, such as coffee, pop, or energy drinks
Eat low-fat, and high-carb foodsEat too many dairy products
Avoid eating gas-producing foodsEat insoluble fibre
Take your medicines as per the prescriptionEat fried foods
Drink more waterConsume excess sugar

Manage the symptoms of IBD and lead a healthy life. Seek timely treatment and follow up with your doctor to better monitor your condition.


Inflammatory Bowel Disease Care at Medicover Hospitals

We have the best team of Gastroenterologists and specialists at Medicover who treat IBD and its severe symptoms. Our highly trained physicians use the latest diagnostic techniques and procedures to run tests, conduct diagnoses, and treat IBD in adults and infants. Our experts work closely with patients to monitor their health and treatment progress for faster and sustained recovery.

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