Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is an umbrella term that covers any disease that inflames part or all of the digestive tract. Two of the most common types of IBD are:
Ulcerative Colitis-A type of IBD that causes chronic inflammation and ulcers in the lining of the large intestine.
Crohn’s Disease-A type of IBD that causes inflammation deep in the lining of the digestive tract. It can affect the large and small intestine.
The symptoms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) depend on the severity and the location of inflammation. They tend to be intermittent with flare-up periods.
Some symptoms that are common across multiple types of IBD are:
Doctors are unsure of the exact cause of IBD. One of the leading theories involves an error in the immune system, causing it to attack cells in the digestive tract. Some risk factors for IBD include:
Your doctor will suspect IBD after ruling out other possible causes like irritable bowel syndrome, diverticulitis, colon cancer, and others. To confirm the diagnosis, your doctor may run one or more of the following tests:
There is no cure for IBD, so the goal of treatment is to reduce inflammation and manage triggers. Most IBD treatments involve drug therapy or, in severe cases, surgery.
Drug therapy includes:
In severe cases surgery may be necessary to treat IBD, this generally means removing the affected portion of the digestive tract. However, this will not cure IBD.
If IBD goes untreated, it can lead to more serious complications, including: