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Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Inflammatory Bowel Disease/Crohn's Disease

Inflammatory bowel disease, which includes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, is a term used for different disorders affecting the bowels. This disease affects the intestines by causing them to be inflamed. The expected cause f inflammatory bowel disease is from someone’s immune system reacting against its own intestinal tissue. There are a variety of disorders known as inflammatory bowel disease, though Crohn’s is the most common and ulcerative colitis the second most common.

Causes of Inflammatory Bowel Disease

There is no known cause of inflammatory bowel disease, therefore it’s known as an idiopathic disease. Researchers believe different factors trigger the disease such as an abnormal immune system, genetics and family history, immunology, infections, and psychological factors. The main factor causing an immune system to act abnormally and cause inflammatory bowel disease is still unknown which is why there is no way to prevent or cure them, only treat them to the best of your doctor’s ability.

Symptoms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Inflammatory bowel disease is usually chronic, where it never fully goes away. For this reason, you will experience an ebb and flow of symptoms where you may go into periods of remission, but it will ultimately come back and flare up again. Common signs and symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease include abdominal pain and cramping, bloody diarrhea, severe urgency to have a bowel movement, loss of appetite, fever, weight loss, and anemia due to blood loss. There are also complications you should keep in mind as a result of the symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease such as internal bleeding from ulcers, rupture of the bowels, strictures and obstruction, abnormal passage, toxic non-obstructive dilation of the colon, and a heightened risk of colon cancer. Other complications include a high risk of arthritis, eye inflammation, liver and kidney disorders, skin conditions, and bone loss.

Diagnosis and Treatment Options

A variety of tests are performed to diagnose inflammatory bowel disease following a survey of your symptoms and physical examination. These tests include a stool examination, complete blood count, fecal occult blood test, barium x-ray, upper gastrointestinal tract (upper GI), lower gastrointestinal tract (lower GI), sigmoidoscopy, and a colonoscopy. There is no cure for inflammatory bowel disease though you can treat symptoms at home. Start by eating a healthy diet with fruits, vegetables and whole grains, as well as decreasing your dairy and fiber. You may also be given medications that help alleviate discomfort and other side effects of the disease.
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