Could your stomach problems be caused by IBD?
Dealing with stomach cramps, bloating, and other digestive issues that keep coming and going? If so, you may be wondering if you’re suffering from an irritable bowel disorder (IBD). IBD is often confused with irritable bowel syndrome (because they often have the same symptoms), but they are not the same. IBD is a chronic condition that can cause complications if not properly treated, so it’s important to see a gastroenterologist if you suspect that you might have an IBD.
What are the different types of inflammatory bowel disease?
The two main types of inflammatory bowel diseases are Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Both diseases cause inflammation within the gastrointestinal tract. This chronic inflammation can also cause ulcers to develop within the intestinal lining. Crohn’s disease most often affects the small intestines while ulcerative colitis typically affects the lower part of the large intestines.
What are the signs and symptoms of Crohn’s disease?
Some people have Crohn’s disease but don’t know it because they don’t experience symptoms right away. In fact, for years someone may deal with abdominal cramping or diarrhea without realizing that this could be a sign of an IBD. More serious symptoms of Crohn’s disease include,
- Stomach cramping and pain
- Bloody stools
- Sudden weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Diarrhea or bloody stools
- Widespread inflammation that may also result in fever, canker sores, and skin rashes
What are the signs and symptoms of ulcerative colitis?
Those with ulcerative colitis may experience flare-ups of,
- Increased frequency of bowel movements
- Chronic diarrhea
- Rectal bleeding
- Bloody stools
- Abdominal pain
- Skin rashes
- Decreased appetite
How is IBD treated?
You must see a qualified GI doctor if you suspect that you might have IBD. Your doctor will provide you with a comprehensive treatment plan that may include,
- Prescription anti-inflammatory medications such as steroids
- Lifestyle changes such as dietary modifications, exercise, and staying hydrated
- Supplementation and vitamins
- Surgery (may be necessary to remove part of the intestines, colon, or rectum for those with severe cases of Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis)
If you are experiencing symptoms of IBD such as persistent stomach pains, diarrhea, or constipation, it’s important to see a qualified gastroenterologist to find out what’s going on. While there is no cure for IBD, a gastroenterologist will be able to help you get your digestive problems under control through lifestyle changes and medications.