Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) represents a group of intestinal disorders that reason extended inflammation of the digestive tract.
The digestive tract is composed of the mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, and large intestine. It’s accountable for breaking down food, extracting the nutrients, and removing any impracticable material and waste products. Inflammation anywhere along the digestive tract disrupts this usual procedure. IBD can be extremely painful and troublesome, and in some cases, may even be life-threatening.
Causes of inflammatory bowel disease
The accurate causes of inflammatory bowel disease are unclear. It’s thought that several factors may play a part, such as:
- genetics – there is evidence that you are more likely to develop IBD if you have a close relative with the condition
- disturbance to the immune system (the body’s defence against infection) – inflammation may be caused by the immune system attacking healthy tissue inside the digestive system while fighting off a virus or bacteria
Inflammatory bowel disease symptoms differ, depending on the harshness of inflammation and where it occurs. Signs and symptoms that are common to both Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis include:
Diarrhea. Diarrhea is a general problem for people with IBD.
Fever and fatigue. Many people with IBD experience a low-grade fever. You may also feel tired or have low down energy.
Abdominal pain and cramping. Inflammation and ulceration can change the usual movement of contents through your digestive tract and may lead to pain and cramping. You may also experience nausea and vomiting.
Blood in your stool. You might observe bright red blood in the toilet bowl or darker blood mixed with your stool. You can also have bleeding you don’t see (occult blood).
Reduced appetite. Abdominal pain and cramping, as well as inflammation, can affect your appetite.
Unintended weight loss. You may lose weight and even become malnourished because you cannot properly digest and absorb food.
IBD can also have symptoms unrelated to the gastrointestinal tract, including
- Joint pain
- Skin rashes
- Eye pain
- Mouth sores
Risk Factors for Developing Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Smoking: Smoking is one of the major danger factors for developing Crohn’s disease. Smoking also aggravates the pain and other symptoms of Crohn’s disease and increases the risk of complications. However, ulcerative colitis primarily affects nonsmokers and ex-smokers.
Gender: In general, IBD affects both genders similarly. Ulcerative colitis is further general among men, while Crohn’s disease is more familiar among women.
Age: IBD can occur at any age, but in mainly cases, it starts before the age of 35.
Family History: People who have a parent, sibling, or child with IBD are at a much superior risk for developing it themselves.
Geographical Region: People who live in city areas and industrialized countries have a higher risk of getting IBD. Those with white collar jobs are also further likely to grow the disease. This can be incompletely explained by lifestyle choices and diet. People who live in industrialized countries tend to eat more fat and processed food. IBD is also more regular among people living in northern climates, where it’s often cold.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease Diagnosis
To diagnose IBD, your doctor will primary ask you questions about your family’s medical history and your bowel movements. A physical exam may then be followed by one or more diagnostic tests.
Stool Sample and Blood Test
These tests can be used to look for infections and other diseases. Blood tests can also sometimes be used to distinguish between Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. However, blood tests alone can’t be used to diagnose IBD.
A barium enema is an X-ray exam of the colon and small intestine. In the past, this type of test was often used, but now other tests have largely replaced it.
This test inspects the small intestine, which is much harder to examine than the large intestine. For the test, you swallow a small capsule containing a camera. As it moves through your small intestine, it takes pictures. Once you’ve passed the camera in your stool, the pictures can be seen on a computer.