Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Introduction to Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a term used to describe both Crohns Disease and Ulcerative Colitis (UC). They are both long-term conditions that affect the digestive tract.
What is Inflammatory Bowel Disease?
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a term used to describe both Crohns Disease and Ulcerative Colitis (UC). They are both long-term conditions that affect the digestive tract. Ulcerative colitis only affects the large bowel, but Crohns disease can affect any part of the digestive tract from mouth to anus. IBD affects around 1 in 300 people and the conditions tend to affect young adolescents.
What causes Inflammatory Bowel Disease?
IBD is an autoimmune condition. An autoimmune condition is where the body’s own antibodies start to attack normal body tissue. In IBD antibodies attack the lining of the digestive tract, which causes pain and bleeding. As the lining of the stomach is damaged, food cannot be absorbed properly, which causes people to lose weight and to become deficient in many nutrients. There is also evidence to suggest that IBD disease could be genetically linked, and so may run in families.
What are the symptoms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease?
There are different symptoms depending if your IBD is caused by Crohns or UC. People with Crohns disease tend to experience abdominal pain, weight loss, mouth ulcers, tiredness and an altered bowel habit. People with UC tend to have bloody diarrhoea, abdominal pain and tiredness.
How is Inflammatory Bowel Disease treated?
There are many treatments for IBD depending on how severe your condition is. There are many different types of medication to treat IBD, these include steroids, anti-inflammatories and biological medications that supress the immune system. You may also need surgery to remove very inflamed parts of your colon, this is more common in UC than in Crohns.