Inflammatory Bowel Disease Homework Help
What is Inflammatory Bowel Disease?
Bowel inflammatory disease is made up of a combination of disorders that cause chronic pain and swelling in the intestines. Ulcerative colitis and Chron’s disease make up inflammatory bowel disease.
The two affect the digestive system. A person with inflammatory bowel disease can live a normal life if they can access treatment. Inflammatory bowel disease is a lifelong condition. Inflammatory bowel disease affects both genders and people of all ages.
However, it is more prevalent in people between the age of 15 and 30 years. Inflammatory bowel disease is usually accompanied by chronic intestinal inflammation. Common symptoms of this condition are gas, diarrhea, and stomach cramps.
People with inflammatory bowel disease can get treatment and surgery to help them when the disease flares. Surgery and drugs help keep it under control.
Types of inflammatory Bowel Disease
The main types of IBD are Chron’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Other types include:
- Chron’s disease – this type of IBD usually causes swelling and pain in the digestive system although it can affect any part of the digestive system right from the mouth to the anus.
- Ulcerative colitis – this type causes the intestines to be inflamed and develop sores. It affects the large intestine.
- Microscopic colitis – this type of IBD causes inflammation in the small intestine. It can only be detected with a microscope.
It is important to note that inflammatory bowel disease is not the same as irritable bowel syndrome. The two are different and should not be confused. Inflammatory disease is a disease while irritable bowel syndrome is a group of symptoms.
The two also differ in terms of their treatments and causes. Since it is a gastrointestinal disease, it usually affects the functioning of the bowel whereby it causes them to contract a lot more often than usual.
Irritable bowel syndrome on the other hand can also be called spastic colon or nervous stomach. Unlike inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome does not cause inflammation of the small intestine nor does it damage the small intestine.
Inflammatory bowel syndrome cannot be detected by a scan. In addition, it is not a risk factor for colon cancer. Irritable bowel syndrome does not require one to be hospitalized as compared to inflammatory bowel disease.
It is also important to note that a person can suffer from irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease at the same time. When a person has inflammatory bowel disease, they experience symptoms similar to those of irritable bowel syndrome.
What are the Causes of Inflammatory Bowel Disease?
There are ongoing studies aimed at determining the causes of inflammatory bowel disease. However, there are factors that may lead to IBD. They are:
- Genetics – it is said that 1 in every 4 people with inflammatory bowel syndrome has a family history of the disease.
- Response of the immune system – the immune system is designed to fight infections in the body. However, this is not the case for people with inflammatory bowel disease. For them, the immune system mistakes food for foreign substances and releases antibodies as it would in the case of pathogens. This triggers the symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease.
- Environmental triggers – inflammatory bowel disease may occur in people with a family history of IBD who are exposed to or encounter certain environmental triggers. These triggers include the use of certain medications, depression, stress, and smoking.
Symptoms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Symptoms of IBD come and go from time to time. Their severity ranges from mild to severe. additionally, symptoms of IBD may be gradual or may come suddenly. Common symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease are:
- An upset stomach
- Gas and bloating
- Abdominal pain
- Loss of appetite
- Unexplained weight loss
- Blood or mucus in stool
- An urgent need to poop or diarrhea that alternates with constipation
Rare symptoms of IBD are:
- Joint pain
- Vision problems
- Skin rashes
- Nausea and vomiting
Complications of Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Inflammatory bowel disease is a major risk factor for colon or colorectal cancer. Complications that may arise from inflammatory bowel disease are:
- Kidney stones
- Anemia or blood clots
- Anal stenosis or stricture
- Anal fistula
- Toxic megacolon
- Perforated bowel
- Malabsorption and malnutrition
Testing and Diagnosis of Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Inflammatory bowel disease cannot be diagnosed using a single test. Diagnosis of inflammatory bowel disease is done by first elaborating on your symptoms. The first tests that can be done are a stool test and a complete blood count.
A stool test helps the doctor to identify any signs of inflamed intestines. Additional diagnostic tests include:
- Endoscopic ultrasound – this test is done to check for any possible swelling or ulcers in the digestive system.
- Colonoscopy -this is done to examine small and large intestines.
- Imaging scan – an MRI or a CT scan may be done to check for signs of possible inflammation or abscess.
- Flexible sigmoidoscopy – this is done to observe the inside of the anus and rectum
- Upper endoscopy – helps doctors to examine the digestive system from the moth to where the small intestines begin.
- Capsule endoscopy – this test requires the patient to swallow a small camera. The camera then takes images as it moves through the digestive system.
Management and Treatment of Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Nonsurgical treatment options for inflammatory bowel disease
The type of treatment method used to treat inflammatory bowel disease depends on the symptoms and the type of IBD. Several medications are given to control IBD. These medications include:
- Antibiotics – these treat abscesses and infections
- Biologics – these interfere or stop the signals from the immune system that usually cause inflammation
- Immunomodulators – these are given to calm the immune system
- Corticosteroids – these control the immune system and manage flares
- Amino salicylates – these medications reduce the amount of irritation on the intestines.
Over the counter drugs that are given to treat IBD are:
- Vitamins and supplements such as probiotics
- Antidiarrheal medicine
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
Surgical treatment for Chron’s disease
Most of the people with Chron’s disease will eventually require surgery because medications no longer relieve them of the symptoms. When doing a bowel resection, the surgeon will remove the segment of the bowel that has the disease and connect the two ends of the healthy bowel.
Once the surgery is complete, the healthy bowel that remained continues to function as it used to. Chron’s disease usually recurs after 10 years in more than half the people who undergo surgery. If this happens, it is recommended for a person to undergo a bowel resection.
Surgical treatment options for Ulcerative Colitis
People with ulcerative colitis will eventually need surgery. Surgery in ulcerative colitis involves:
- Removal of the colon or both the colon and rectum
- Connecting the small intestine and anus
- Creating an ileal pouch to collect stool once it leaves the anus
An ileostomy bag may also be needed though it is rare. This bag is usually attached to the outside of the body so that it collects stool. Proctocolectomy may cure the disease. Proctocolectomy ensures symptoms do not recur. However, with ileostomy, there might be a few issues.
Complications that are likely to arise are:
- Rupture or perforation of the bowel
- Profuse bleeding of the intestine due to ulcers
- Fistulae and perianal disease. These are common in Chron’s disease.
- Narrowing also called a stricture and obstruction of the bowel, especially in Chron’s
- Toxic megacolon- this is when the colon dilates. It can be life-threatening and is more common in ulcerative colitis.
- Ulcerative colitis increases the risk of colon cancer
- IBD may affect other organs and may cause skin conditions and arthritis, kidney disorders, loss of bones, inflammation of the eye, and liver disorders. The most common of these is arthritis.
How Can Inflammatory Bowel Disease be Prevented?
There is no guaranteed way of preventing inflammatory bowel disease. However, certain changes in diet and lifestyle can help control symptoms of IBD. These are:
- Being physically active and getting enough sleep
- Eating small meals after every 2 to 4 hours
- Quitting smoking
- Reducing intake of carbonated and caffeinated drinks in addition to alcoholic drinks
- Drinking enough water to avoid dehydration
- Reducing intake of foods that are likely to irritate the intestines. These foods include greasy, spicy, fibrous foods or foods that contain milk. Bland and soft foods can be eaten during flares since they are less inflammatory.
- Finding healthy ways of handling stress like going for a walk and mediation
- Keeping a food diary to note foods that trigger symptoms of IBD
A lot of people with inflammatory bowel disease can still enjoy an active life. However, symptoms of ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease can entirely disrupt a person’s life. After taking medications, some people with IBD may not experience symptoms, a situation known as remission.
Severe flares of inflammatory bowel disease symptoms may need surgery. Doctors often suggest lifestyle and dietary changes that can help manage the disease.
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