irritable bowel disease

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) refers to Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis. These two long-term conditions can be difficult to live with, greatly decreasing quality of life in patients.

The cause of IBD isn’t known, although studies are ongoing. A recent study for example, has linked a strain of mouth bacteria to severe ulcerative colitis. Below, you’ll discover some signs of Inflammatory Bowel Disease, and what the conditions are.

What are the signs of IBD?

The symptoms of IBD can present very similar to other conditions. Therefore, it can be difficult to diagnose in some cases. However, the key symptoms to watch out for with IBD include:

  • Pain and cramps within the abdomen
  • Chronic diarrhoea
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Abdomen swelling
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss

Alongside these main symptoms, you may also develop a fever and suffer with vomiting and nausea. The symptoms are known to come and go, with patients experiencing long periods of time before they suffer a relapse.

If you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above, it is worth seeking a diagnosis to determine if IBD is the cause.

What is Crohn’s Disease?

Crohn’s Disease causes inflammation within the digestive system. It is one of the main forms of IBD and it is sometimes considered a chronic disease. Crohn’s can last a lifetime, although there may be long periods of remission throughout.

There isn’t currently a cure for Crohn’s Disease, though there are treatments available which can provide relief. It is estimated that 1 in every 650 people in the UK have the condition and its severity can vary significantly between patients.

What is ulcerative colitis?

The second main type of IBD is ulcerative colitis. This is also a long-term condition which causes the rectum and colon to become inflamed. In some cases, tiny ulcers may develop on the lining of the colon, causing bleeding or a release of pus.

Diarrhoea, abdomen pain and frequently needing to relieve the bowels, are the most common symptoms of ulcerative colitis. It is slightly more common than Crohn’s Disease, affecting 1 in every 420 people.

Both Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis are considered autoimmune diseases. These occur when the body’s immune system starts to attack its own tissues and cells. While there may not be a cure for either condition, there are effective treatments available including surgery to remove any damaged tissue.

If you have the symptoms of IBD, but you haven’t yet been diagnosed, it’s important to see a doctor right away. This will help to rule out more serious conditions, and ensure you get treatment quickly.

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