Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) refers to digestive conditions that cause ongoing inflammation along the gastrointestinal tract. There are two types of IBD, Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative colitis (UC).
Crohn’s disease causes inflammation, swelling, and ulceration in the deep layers of your digestive tract. This inflammation may occur anywhere from the mouth to the anus, but it most often affects the small intestine and the upper part of the large intestine.
UC causes inflammation and swelling on the inside lining of your large intestine. The inflammation often starts in the rectum and then spreads to the colon.
Researchers are still investigating the underlying cause of IBD. However, they theorize that inflammation occurs because of immune system problems.
What are the symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease?
IBD symptoms vary depending on the type, location, and severity of the inflammation and include:
- Abdominal pain
- Gas and bloating
- Blood or pus in stool
- Poor appetite
- Weight loss
- Joint pain
Symptoms of IBD tend to come and go. You may go through periods of flare-ups, causing mild to severe symptoms, followed by periods of remission where you have only mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. IBD remission can last weeks, months, or years.
What happens during an inflammatory bowel disease evaluation?
NVG takes a personalized approach to care and conducts a comprehensive evaluation when you come in with concerns about IBD.
The team asks detailed questions about your symptoms, medical history, and family history. They perform a physical exam and run diagnostic tests.
Because there’s no single test to diagnose IBD, we seek to better understand the cause of your symptoms and formulate an accurate diagnosis through blood work and stool testing as well as endoscopy procedures such as a colonoscopy, upper endoscopy, or capsule endoscopy.
What are the treatments for inflammatory bowel disease?
Treatment for IBD depends on type and symptoms. Initially, NVG uses medications to control inflammation. The goal of treatment is to help you reach and stay in remission.
Medical treatment for IBD might include:
- Aminosalicylates to minimize intestinal inflammation
- Biologics to interrupt the immune response that causes the inflammation
- Immunomodulators to minimize the immune system reaction
- Antidiarrheal medications
- Nutritional supplements
If medical interventions fail to relieve your IBD symptoms, NVG may talk to you about surgery to resect the inflamed areas of your bowel.
With the right treatment, you can experience long bouts of remission from your IBD.