Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) covers a range of intestinal disorders such as Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis. While the severity of the conditions can vary between patients, for most it has a significant impact on their day-to-day lives.

According to the Guts Charity, 1 in 20 people develop IBD, totalling approximately 3.2 million people. So, what is Inflammatory Bowel Disease and how is it treated? Learn everything you need to know in this informative blog.

What is IBD?

Inflammatory Bowel Disease is a group of disorders that cause chronic inflammation in the intestines. This includes Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis.

Crohn’s Disease – Patients with Crohn’s Disease can develop inflammation within any part of the gastrointestinal tract. However, it mostly impacts the end of the small intestine, or the start of the colon.

The chronic inflammation caused by the disease can lead to the development of ulcers on the intestine lining. In severe cases, it can cause ulcers to push through the intestinal wall, connecting two organs or bits of bowel together. Sometimes the bowel can narrow down causing a bowel obstruction.

Ulcerative colitis – Patients with Ulcerative colitis also experience inflammation within the gastrointestinal tract. However, it only tends to affect the lining of the colon (large bowel), mostly near the rectum.

Symptoms of the condition develop quite quickly, and it may cause ulcers to develop on the wall of the intestines. It is considered a chronic condition, though most patients go months, or even years, between flare ups.

Common IBD symptoms

The symptoms of IBD vary depending upon the type of condition you have and the area of bowel affected. Some patients also experience more significant symptoms than others. However, there are some general symptoms that can link to both Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, including:

  • Stomach cramps
  • Diarrhoea
  • Fatigue
  • Reduced appetite
  • Blood in your stools
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Anaemia

As you can see, some of the symptoms of IBD can also link to more serious conditions such as cancer. For this reason, it is important for patients to seek a diagnosis as soon as possible.
You may find that your symptoms are mild or severe, and you could go weeks, months, or years, without experiencing a flare up of the conditions.

How is Inflammatory Bowel Disease treated?

There isn’t a cure for IBD conditions, but there are ways to manage them. Medications can be provided to help reduce inflammation and minimise activity of the immune system. If medications don’t work, surgery may be required.

Surgery can help to remove the inflamed part of the colon in Ulcerative colitis, or to repair damage to the digestive system in Crohn’s disease patients. Bowel cancer checks will also be provided to some patients as IBD is known to increase the risk of developing the disease.

If you suspect you may have IBD, or you are struggling to manage it, book a consultation with Mr Stellakis today. After assessing the condition, he will be able to provide an effective treatment plan to help you manage the symptoms.