What is Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Inflammatory Bowel Disease primarily describes two conditions; Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Both are chronic conditions that result in inflammation off the gastrointestinal tract.
Ulcerative colitis is when the colon and rectum become inflamed and small ulcers develop on the protective lining, which can bleed and produce pus. Crohn’s disease is inflammation of the protective lining, anywhere on the digestive tract. Sometimes it may be difficult to differentiate between the two conditions. Other, less common types of Irritable Bowel Disease include collagenous colitis and lymphocytic colitis.
Several factors contribute in causing the condition, commonly characterized by diarrhoea, abdominal pain,weight loss and fatigue. It is usually diagnosed in the late teen years or early twenties. It is estimated to affect more than 300,000 people in the UK.
Symptoms for Irritable Bowel Syndrome vary from person to person and may even change over time. Symptoms might go through phases of flare ups followed by a period of remission.
Main symptoms for both subtypes include;
- Pain, swelling or cramping in the stomach
- Recurring or bloody diarrhoea
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Extreme tiredness
Some people with severe symptoms may develop complications;
Strictures : Continuous inflammation followed by healing, which may cause scar tissue, creating a narow section of the bowel.
Fistulas : An abnormal channel connecting one internal organ to another, or to the outside of the body.
Not everyone experiences all the symptoms, it depends on the nature of their individual condition.
Irritable bowels are on the rise, with people facing problems with digestion causing mild to severe symptoms. Some conditions are more serious and others less so, it is therefore important to diagnose the cause of your symptoms. Once diagnosed and the nature ofthe condition is known, it is easier to manage and treat the condition.