Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a set of conditions characterized by intestinal inflammation. Although its chronic inflammation has been attributed to an immune system attack, studies reveal this may not be the case. Instead, bowel injury happens when the immune system attacks a harmless virus, bacterium, or food in the digestive tract. This causes inflammation.
Ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease are two common IBD subtypes. Colitis ulcerative is found only in the large intestine (colon). However, Crohn's disease is not picky when it comes to the digestive system. However, the colon or the final portion of the small intestine is typically the most affected.
If you suffer from irritable bowel syndrome, you understand it typically follows a cyclical path. When inflammation goes up a lot, the symptoms of an illness tend to get worse or "flare up." The disease is said to be in remission when inflammation levels decrease to non-detectable levels, and the patient shows no signs of illness.
What Causes Inflammatory Bowel Disease?
The origin of IBD is a medical mystery. Inflammation of the intestines occurs when the body's immune system attacks a foreign substance (bacteria, virus, and antigen). Recent research suggests genetic, environmental, and inherited factors can cause IBD. It's also possible that the autoimmune reaction is triggered by self-tissue. No matter what started the reaction, it got out of hand, hurting the lining of the gut and causing diarrhea and stomach pain.
The genetic foundation of IBD has been strongly suggested by evidence such as:
A significant portion of persons with IBD (20%) has a family history of the condition. IBD is more prevalent among white people than other racial or ethnic groups. Additionally, Jews, especially Ashkenazi Jews, are disproportionately affected.
The NOD2 gene was the first to be linked to Crohn's disease, which was discovered in 2006. There have been over 200 IBD-related genomic regions discovered since then.
A better understanding of the alterations that cause IBD and the development of more effective treatments might result from identifying a genetic relationship. An IBD test might also be developed if there was a genetic relationship.
How Is Inflammatory Bowel Disease Treated?
Self-care and medication intervention are both necessary for treating IBD.
Changes to your diet might help you deal with your symptoms, but they haven't been shown to prevent or treat inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Consult your healthcare provider about making the necessary dietary adjustments while meeting your needs. For instance, your doctor may recommend cutting back on fiber or dairy products if those contribute to your symptoms. Some evidence suggests that digestion is better when you eat several small meals instead of three big ones. If you notice that particular meals are making your symptoms worse, you should avoid them.
A low-residue diet is one dietary intervention that your doctor may recommend. This very limited diet cuts down on how much fiber and other things that haven't been digested leave the body through the colon. In this way, you can ease your diarrhea and stomach ache. Since a low-residue diet does not supply all the nutrients you need, you should know how long you should be on it before committing to it. Vitamin supplements are something your doctor may suggest.
Managing stress, which can exacerbate symptoms, is another crucial part of caring for yourself. Making a list of the things that stress you out will help you figure out which ones to cut from your routine. Taking a few deep breaths and letting them out gradually helps reduce stress. The ability to meditate, the establishment of personal time, and the maintenance of a regular exercise routine are all useful strategies for dealing with stress.
Joining a support group puts you in touch with people who understand what it's like to live with IBD on a daily basis. They can help you feel better and give you good advice on dealing with your symptoms and how they affect you.
Medical treatment stops aberrant inflammation from healing intestinal tissue. Diarrhea and stomach pain should improve. After symptoms are under control, medical treatment will reduce flare-ups and sustain remission. Inflammatory bowel disease drugs are usually prescribed step-by-step. Thus, the safest or shortest-term medications are used first. If these fail, higher-level medicines are used.
Aminosalicylates—aspirin-similar anti-inflammatory medications such as balsalazide (Colazal), mesalamine (Asacol, Apriso, Lialda, Pentasa), olsalazine (Dipentum), and sulfasalazine—are usually used to start (Azulfidine). Ulcerative colitis can be treated with oral mesalamine, rectal suppositories, or enema. Anti-inflammatory, they relieve flare-up symptoms and preserve remission. The doctor may prescribe anti-diarrheal, antispasmodics, and acid suppressants for symptom relief. Doctors should prescribe anti-diarrheal medications.
The doctor may prescribe an antibiotic with your other medications if you have Crohn's disease, especially if you have the perianal disease (diseased tissue around the anus). Ulcerative colitis rarely requires antibiotics.
A corticosteroid, a fast-acting anti-inflammatory, may be prescribed by your doctor if the initial medications don't do the trick. Symptoms are typically alleviated rapidly, and inflammation is drastically reduced when corticosteroids are used. However, corticosteroids are only used for treating flare-ups and are not utilized for remission because of long-term use's negative effects.
If corticosteroids don't work or aren't enough, the next line of treatment is immune-modifying medicines. These drugs are not utilized for sudden attacks because it can take two to three months for them to take effect. These medicines stop the immune system from making substances that cause inflammation in the lining of the intestines. Azathioprine (Imuran), methotrexate (Rheumatrex), and 6-mercaptopurine (6-MP) are only a few of the most often used immunosuppressants (Purinethol).
Colon cancer is linked to long-term inflammation, which increases in people with IBD. Therefore, beginning around 10 years following diagnosis, they should undergo a colonoscopy annually.
Especially during flare-ups, children and teenagers with IBD may be unable to participate in the same activities as their peers. Some people have issues with low self-esteem, melancholy, or nervousness. They could forget to take their medication or stray from their healthy eating plan. If you're worried about your child's emotional state, conduct, or academic achievement, it's best to consult a doctor or mental health professional.
Parents can help their teens with inflammatory bowel disease take more control of their health care as they get older. Teens should be encouraged to take their medication, care for themselves, and find healthy methods to deal with stress. Activities such as yoga, meditation, deep breathing exercises, art creation, creativity through dancing or writing, or simply talking to a friend can all be beneficial.