IBD stands for inflammatory bowel disease. It involves chronic inflammation of all or part of your digestive tract. Two primary conditions we see patients for are ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.
Ulcerative colitis causes long-lasting inflammation and sores, or ulcers, in the innermost lining of your colon and rectum. Crohn’s disease causes inflammation of the digestive tract lining and this inflammation often spreads deep into affected tissues.
Risk factors for IBD include:
- Age (most are diagnosed under age 30)
- Race or ethnicity (highest risk among whites and Ashkenazi Jewish descent)
- Family history
- Cigarette smoking
- Isotretinoin use (Accutane – used to treat acne)
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (ibuprofen, Aleve, etc.)
- Where you live (high risk in urban areas/industrialized countries)
The symptoms of IBD are no fun. Common symptoms of both Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis include encompass diarrhea, fever, abdominal pain and cramping, blood in the stool, loss of appetite, fatigue, and unintended weight loss.
What causes inflammatory bowel disease?
Unfortunately, the exact cause remains unknown. One possibility is an immune system malfunction. When a virus, or bacterium, is being fought off by your immune system, an abnormal response would cause the immune system to also attack the cells in the digestive tract. Stress is also known to aggravate symptoms. If you are wondering at what point you should see a doctor, do so if you see a fierce change in your bowel habits or if you exhibit any known IBD symptoms. Do not put off getting medical attention if you have IBD; it is unlikely to be fatal, but it is a serious disease that can cause life-threatening complications.
If you suffer from any of the symptoms mentioned above, we want to hear from you.
Digestive Health Specialists, PA is here to help if you, or someone you know, would like more information, or if you are experiencing any digestive health symptoms and would like further evaluation. Feel free to give us a call at 336-768-6211 or fill the form below.