What is Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Why is it Dangerous?
Many people mistake inflammatory bowel disease for irritable bowel syndrome. They are actually two completely different issues, although they both affect overall colon health. Inflammatory bowel disease can encompass many different disorders which are different types of bowel irritations that include Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Both of these are ulcer causing conditions where Crohn’s contains ulcers in the intestines and ulcerative colitis means ulcers in the colon.
What Can Cause Inflammatory Bowel Disease?
There is a great deal of speculation on what can bring on this condition. Some feel it is genetic and others believe that the immune system is not working properly. Finally, it may be caused by germs or other foreign material in the body.
What are the Indications of Inflammatory Bowel Disease?
Unfortunately, there are no cut and dry indications that one is suffering from inflammatory bowel disease. This is because the symptoms depend upon the type IBD that is present. Some of the most prevalent indications are urgency to evacuate the bowels, cramping, and pain in the stomach. In some cases there can be loose stools with blood. Many lose their appetites.
While these symptoms can be very uncomfortable, there can also be some serious consequences if this condition is left without treatment. There can be bleeding in the colon and bowel and in some cases, toxic megacolon can be present. Toxic megacolon can be dangerous because is characterized by a very dilated colon and accompanied by abdominal bloating and pain, along with fever and even shock.
Those who are diagnosed with ulcerative colitis are going to be more likely to acquire certain types of cancer. In some cases, there can be other complications associated with inflammatory bowel disease. The following are some of the possible complications:
Pain in the Joints
Loss of Bone Structure
Problems with Eyes
There are two ways that a physician can determine if a patient has inflammatory bowel disease. The first is testing stool samples. The other is checking the colon via a camera which can detect if there are any lesions on it.
How to Treat IBD
This first recommendation for treating IBD is changing the diet of the patient. Lowering fiber and dairy foods is going to be the first step. De-stressing and taking better care of the overall health is also a must.
In some cases, medications that help to reduce irritation and swelling may be offered to the patient as a way to get relief. Others may need antibiotics. Finally, pain medications can help to ease the discomfort of having inflammatory bowel diseases.
Because of the loose bowels and the diarrhea, many people with IBD can become dehydrated. This is a major concern. In severe cases, a hospital stay may be in order to get fluids quickly into the body. Sometimes, an operation is the only option for restoring the patient to a healthy, normal life.