What is Inflammatory Bowel Disease?

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is a general term that refers to Crohns disease and Ulcerative Colitis (UC). IBD is generally thought of as swelling and irritation in the digestive tract. This inflammation is caused by your body’s immune cells attacking its own digestive tract. These diseases are thought to be inherited through our family genes that somehow trigger our body to respond in this way. All of us inherit genes from our parents DNA. There is nothing that can alter this inheritance. It is thought that there are also environmental factors contributing to IBD. We don’t have all the answers yet as to how and why we have IBD. We do know ways to diagnose and treat IBD.

First, we must determine which type of IBD that you have. This is done with lab testing (IBD serology 7) and diagniostic studies ( EGD, Colonoscopies, capsule endoscopies and even Barium studies have been done).

What is the difference in Crohns and Ulcerative Colitis?

Crohns: Crohns disease can be seen anywhere in the GI tract, from the mouth to the anus. Sometimes you will have ulcerations that occur in any of these areas. Symptoms of Crohns disease often include abdominal (belly) pain and cramping, vomiting and even weight loss. Sometimes you will have rectal bleeding but it is not as common in Crohns as it is in Ulcerative Colitis.

Ulcerative Colitis: UC is limited to the colon or large intestines. Inflammation and sometimes ulcers can be found in the entire colon or even in just the rectum or left side of the colon. Symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis often include diarrhea, rectal bleeding and abdominal pain.

Can IBD be treated?

Often times you will hear people refer to their increased symptoms as “flair-ups” or “flares” of their IBD. Treatment for IBD comes in many forms and the type that is selected by your doctor may be totally different than the type selected for someone else that you know with IBD. Treatment is directed at keeping your “flares” from happening and may change to help decrease “flares” that are occurring. Some of these treatments are in the form of pills (Corticosteroids, 5-Aminosalicylates, Immunosuppressive drugs) and also in the form of IV infusions or injections. (Anti-TNF drugs). Theses therapies can be discussed in further detail at your visit here with Dr. Strobel.

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