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How do You Get Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) & What is the Treatment?

Inflammatory Bowel Disease or IBD is defined by chronic inflammation of partial or complete digestive tract. It is a medical problem linked with stomach, which might highlight issue of Crohn’s disease as well as Ulcerative Colitis. Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) comes out to be life threatening because it is known to be a serious complication. In this aspect, Crohn’s Disease is stated as the inflammation occurring on the lining of digestive tract. Once the inflammation starts, it may spread deeper into tissues of large and even the small intestine. On the other end, Ulcerative Colitis is the inflammation and occurrence of ulcers in the innermost lining of large intestine. Immediate expert advice and proper treatment is mandatory to treat this condition.

How Do You Get Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)?

How Do You Get Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)?

The exact cause of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is not known; still, the doctors have come out with some possible causes for IBD. They are:

  • Autoimmune Response for Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD): The most common cause for Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is immune system malfunction. This situation occurs in the case of immune system fighting invasion of a bacteria or virus into the body. The usual response of the body to fight an infection is that the area inflames where the micro-organism has invaded. As the infection reduces and gets cured the inflammation reduces. However, in some cases the inflammation stays for months or years. Moreover, in case of an abnormal immune system, the immune system tends to attack the body’s own cells; in this case, the digestive tract. This contributes to inflammation leading to Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).
  • Genetic Factors for Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD): It was found that Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) was more common in people who had a parent or siblings suffering from this disease. However, there is a sure conclusion for it as many people with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) do not have a family history.
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) and Healthy Microbiota: Studies have indicated that an imbalance in the healthy microbes inside the gut or the intestines can trigger Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). Imbalance can also stimulate the malfunctions in the immune system or the autoimmune response.
  • Diet as a cause for Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD): A sedentary lifestyle and high animal protein diet has been regarded as a cause for Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). The animal protein contains higher amounts of sulphur containing amino acids that contribute to Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) or ulcerative colitis. Plant protein, on the other hand, has been regarded as safer.

Risk Factors for Getting Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

There are certain risk factors which increases the chances of getting Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) though these might not be the cause directly for its occurrence. Some of the risk factors include:

  • Age as a Risk for Getting Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD): Most people develop IBD by the age of 35. However, there are people who don’t experience any symptom before the age of 50 or 60.
  • Genetic Predisposition for Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD): A genetic history of a parent, sibling or a child having IBD increases the risk of getting Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).
  • Smoking as a Risk Factor for Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD): Not only is smoking injurious to general health, it also increases the chances of having Crohn’s Disease and also IBD associated complications. Though current smoking protects a person from having ulcerative colitis, yet previous history of smoking increases the chances of getting it.
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) and Ethnicity and Geographical Location: Although Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) can occur in any ethnic or racial group, whites are more prone to develop the disease. Caucasian and Ashkenazi Jews have an even higher risk of developing Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). Individuals living in developed countries having a sedentary lifestyle and dietary habits including high animal proteins and fats have a higher chance of getting IBD. People dwelling in regions having very cold climate are also at risk for IBD.
  • Medications and Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD): Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen, diclofenac, etc. increases the risk of developing IBD or worsening the condition for those who already have the disease. Some vague evidences suggest that Isotretinoin, medications used to treat acne or scarring of cystic acne could increase the risk for Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD); however a clear relation is not established yet.
  • Gender and Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD): Although IBD affects each gender equally; the occurrence of Crohn’s disease is more common in women while ulcerative colitis occurs more in men.

What is the Treatment for Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)?

Certainly, IBD or Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome is meant to be treated on immediate basis before the problem aggravates. Proper treatment is necessary to fight symptoms because healthy lifestyle is not a gift of god; it is the gift that has to be earned with hardships and adopting right kind of healthcare. There are various options to treat IBD depending on the level of disease. They are as follows:

  • Anti-Inflammatory Medicines and Suppressors: The medications involved for treatment are:
    • Aminosalicylates is quite effective in lessening the symptoms of ulcerative colitis and even of Crohn’s disease.
    • Corticosteroid is ideal for treating mild or medium level of Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis disease.
    • Azathioprine is an active part of the Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) treatment as it helps in suppressing the abnormal immune response of the body.
    • Cyclosporine is perfect for those patients who do not feel positive effect of other medications.
    • Methotrexate is one medicine that works wonder for cancer and arthritis diseases. At times, it is also used for treating Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) as an immune-suppressant.
    • Metronidazole is one of the most commonly used antibiotics for Crohn’s disease. In fact, it is a powerful option to treat some of the most troubling side effects of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) treatment.
    • The patients are given a couple of pain killers, iron supplements, vitamin B-12 tablets, calcium and nutritional supplements for recuperating.
  • Surgical Treatments for Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD): The surgical treatmentfor IBD includes:
    • Surgical treatment of ulcerative colitis requires the doctor to remove rectum and colon completely. It might also require the patient to wear a pouch bag for collecting intestinal waste.
    • Surgical treatment of Crohn’s disease necessitates the doctor to remove a part of the digestive tract and tends to link the healthy parts once again.

Complications of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

There are certain complications that can lead to health issues necessitating immediate medications as suggested by the doctor. Inflammation, bowel obstruction, ulcers, anal fissure, colon cancer, osteoporosis and even delayed growth are some of the most commonly known complications that call for visiting the doctor for proper medication. Besides these possible complications, patients might also come across dehydration, bleeding, sores in the mouth and blood clots in vein. On coming across any of the above-mentioned complications, consulting the surgeon or a physician will surely be helpful.

Precautions for Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

Eating healthy and doing regular exercise can be quite helpful in avoiding Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). Having a well-balanced diet is extremely essential in enjoying a healthy lifestyle. Along with this, consulting doctors on coming across any kind of symptom related to IBD is mandatory.

In order to maintain a better lifestyle after undergoing Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) treatment, patients are required to refrain from dairy products and increase the intake of low-fat food items. Every person undergoing IBD treatment has to maintain a proper diet suggested by the dietician or surgeon. So, eating small meals frequently is better than consuming heavy meals. Doing regular exercise will help the person in channelizing proper blood flow. Not to forget avoiding smoking completely. By taking care of overall health and also following the advice given by the doctor, IBD patients can lead a healthy life.


Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 17, 2023

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