Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a group of conditions that cause intestinal tract inflammation. The intestine is the tube lined with cells that extends from your mouth, down the small intestine, and into your large intestine. Inflammatory bowel disease Austin includes ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.
Here is everything you need to know about inflammatory bowel disease;
What are ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease?
Ulcerative colitis is an inflammation of the large intestine, which can affect any part of this organ but most commonly affects its last section, the terminal ileum. This condition causes repeated bouts of rectal bleeding, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. It can also cause inflammation of nearby internal organs such as the pancreas, liver, or spleen (splenomegaly).
Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease that develops when specialized cells in your intestines start to multiply out of control and attack your tissues. The body’s immune system may also be involved in Crohn’s disease, as it tries to fight off infections or toxins that cause inflammation in other parts of your body.
What are the symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease?
- Infrequent or absent bowel movements
- Abdominal pain that may be mild to severe
- Diarrhea that is bloody or mucus-like in appearance
- Rectal bleeding
- Fever or chills
What are the causes of inflammatory bowel disease?
The causes of inflammatory bowel disease are not entirely known. However, researchers have found that a diet high in fats and processed foods can lead to the development of IBD. Other risk factors include:
- Family history of IBD
- Chronic stress
In addition to diet and lifestyle, stress can also contribute to the development of IBD. Stressful situations such as divorce or job loss have been linked with an increased risk of developing IBD.
What are the risk factors for inflammatory bowel disease?
Age– Inflammatory bowel disease is more common in people over 40 years of age. It’s also more common in people with other conditions, such as celiac disease or Crohn’s disease.
Family history– Familial forms of inflammatory bowel disease are more common among first-degree relatives than second-degree relatives-grandparents and great-grandparents.
Smoking and alcohol abuse-Smoking and drinking alcohol increases your risk of developing Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis by increasing inflammation in the intestine.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications– Medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen may increase the risk of inflammatory bowel disease.
How is anti-inflammatory bowel disease diagnosed?
- Lab tests
Other than a complete history and physical exam, your doctor may order blood tests to check your liver function, thyroid function, and white blood cell count (leukocyte count). Some people with inflammatory bowel disease have an elevated white blood cell count. If you have inflammatory bowel disease and your white blood cells are elevated, it may be because of the inflamed tissue in the large intestine, increasing their number.
- Endoscopic procedures
In some cases, endoscopy is used to diagnose inflammatory bowel disease. This procedure uses a camera inside your mouth, rectum, or vagina to take pictures of your digestive tract. If you have inflammatory bowel disease, these tests may show ulcers, bleeding, or other signs of inflammation.
Your doctor may take samples from your small intestine and colon (colonoscopy) to test if you develop symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease or if you have another condition that causes inflammation of the intestinal wall, such as Crohn’s disease. A sample from the lining of your colon can show whether it has been inflamed by inflammatory bowel disease. A sample from a biopsy taken from the lining of your small intestine shows whether there are signs of inflammation in this area as well.
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) includes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. When the colon is inflamed, it can’t absorb nutrients from food, leading to malnutrition. This can cause diarrhea, constipation, and abdominal pain. If you have this condition, Lone Star Gastroenterology experts can help.