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Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Inflammatory Bowel Disease represents a group of intestinal disorders that cause prolonged inflammation of the digestive tract. The digestive tract comprises the:

  • Large intestine
  • Small intestine
  • Stomach
  • Esophagus
  • Mouth

It is responsible for breaking down, extracting the nutrients, and removing any unusable material and waste products.

Inflammation anywhere along the digestive tract interferes with this normal process. Inflammatory Bowel Disease can be very painful and disruptive. In rare cases, it may even be life-threatening.

Types of Inflammatory Bowel Disease include:

  • Crohn's disease: This type is characterized by inflammation of the lining of your digestive tract, which frequently can involve the deeper layers of the digestive tract.
  • Ulcerative colitis: This condition involves inflammation and sores along the superficial lining of your large intestine and rectum.

These conditions usually are characterized by weight loss, fatigue, abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, and diarrhea.


What Causes Inflammatory Bowel Disease?

Diet and stress were suspected to be the cause of this disease. On the other hand, doctors know that these factors may aggravate but are not the cause of Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

One possible cause is a malfunction of the immune system. When your immune system tries to fight off an invading virus, there is an abnormal immune response that causes the immune system to attack the cells in the digestive tract. In addition, hereditary seems to play a role in the disease. It is more common in people who have family members with the disease.


Symptoms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease

The symptoms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease may vary and may range from mild to severe. The signs and symptoms are common to both Ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease includes:

  • Unintended weight loss
  • Reduced appetite
  • Blood in your stool
  • Abdominal pain and cramping
  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhea


Treatment for Inflammatory Bowel Disease

  1. Anti-Inflammatory Drugs

Anti-inflammatory drugs are frequently the first step in the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease.

  • Balsalazide (Colazal)
  • Mesalamine (Asacol HD and Delzicol)
  • Olsalazine (Dipentum)
  1. Immune System Suppressors

These medications work in a variety of ways to suppress the immune response that releases inflammation-inducing chemicals into the body. When released, these chemicals can damage the lining of the digestive tract.

  • Methotrexate (Trexall)
  • Azathioprine (Azasan and Imuran)
  • Mercaptopurine (Purinethol and Purixan)
  1. Antibiotics

Antibiotics may be used in addition to other medicines or when the infection is a concern.

  • Metronidazole (Flagyl)
  • Ciprofloxacin (Cipro)

In addition to controlling inflammation, some medicines may help relieve your signs and symptoms but always talk to your physician before taking any medications. Depending on the severity of your disease, your doctor may recommend one or more of the following:

  1. Anti-diarrheal Medications

A fiber supplement such as:

  • psyllium powder (Metamucil)
  • methylcellulose (Citrucel)
  1. Pain Reliever
  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
  • Ibuprofen (Advil and Motrin IB)
  • Naproxen sodium (Aleve)
  • Diclofenac Sodium
  1. Vitamins and Supplements

If you're not absorbing enough nutrients, your doctor may recommend vitamins and nutritional supplements.


Prevention of Inflammatory Bowel Disease

There are no exact details on how you can prevent Inflammatory Bowel Disease. However, certain dietary and lifestyle changes may control the symptoms. You can:

  • Get plenty of sleep and stay physically active.
  • Eat smaller meals every two to four hours.
  • Find healthy ways to manage stress.
  • Keep a food diary to identify foods that trigger the disease.
  • Cut back on carbonated, caffeinated, and alcoholic beverages. Drink more water to prevent dehydration.
  • Lessen foods that irritate the intestines, such as those that are spicy, fibrous, and greasy, or made with milk. During flares, choose soft and bland foods that are less inflammatory.
  • Quit smoking.

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