The Gut Health Blog

Understanding IBD

Aug 13, 2023

IBD stands for inflammatory bowel disease. It's a conditions that impacts a lot of people all over the world. It's a chronic condition. It's pretty complex and causes severe inflammation of the digestive tract. The sympotms can vary and often folks need long-term treatment. If you are suffering from IBD or suspect you may have it, understanding the basics of this condition is essential.

IBD is an umbrella that describes both Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. They have similaries - inflammation of the digestive tract, but they affect different parts of the digestive system. Crohn's disease typically affects anywhere from the mouth to the anus, while ulcerative colitis mainly affects the large intestine or colon. Both can cause:

  • Belly or abdominal pain
  • Change in stool habits
  • Frequent bowel movements
  • Diarrhea
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue

The exact cause of IBD is unknown, but it is thought to be an autoimmune disorder. This means the body's immune system attacks the digestive tract by mistake. Genetics, environmental factors, and an abnormal response to gut bacteria may also play a role. To diagnose, doctors may use one or more of the following:

  • Discussion of medical history
  • Physical exam
  • Blood tests
  • Stool tests
  • Endoscopic procedures such as a colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy, upper endoscopy, etc.

Once diagnosed, treatment for IBD will depend on the type and severity of the condition. Medications such as anti-inflammatory drugs, corticosteroids, and immunosuppressants may help manage symptoms. Patients with severe or unresponsive symptoms may require surgery.

I love lifestyle medicne and always recommend lifestyle changes as well. These can help manage IBD symptoms. Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet and avoiding trigger foods can help reduce symptoms such as diarrhea and abdominal pain. It's also important to get movement and exercise in regularly and keep stress levels to a minimum.

IBD is a complex condition that requires ongoing medical care and management. Speak with your doctor promptly if you have any concerns. Many patients with IBD are able to manage their symptoms. By understanding the basics of IBD, including its signs and symptoms, how it is diagnosed, and the available treatment and management options, you can take an active role in your care and work with your doctor towards achieving optimal health.


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