Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is related to a number of conditions that involve inflammation of the digestive system , especially the intestine. This is the part of the body involved in digesting food, absorbing nutrients and water and, ultimately, eliminating waste (known as faeces). Learn more about this condition in our post, check it out!
What are the main symptoms?
In the milder forms, the person may experience abdominal pain and changes in bowel habits such as diarrhea or constipation. In the most severe forms, severe pain, rectal bleeding, sudden weight loss, tiredness or weakness, thrush etc.
What is the cause of IBD?
There is no single explanation for the development of IBD. One of the most accepted theories says that a possibly viral, bacterial or allergic process initially ignites the small or large intestine and, depending on genetic predisposition, results in the development of antibodies that chronically “attack” the intestine, leading to inflammation. Approximately 10% of IBD patients have a close relative (father, son, brother) with the disease.
How is inflammatory bowel disease diagnosed?
The diagnosis begins with clinical history and medical examination, and is complemented by other tests, which may include laboratory tests on blood and feces, radiological studies and endoscopic examinations that allow tissue samples to be collected for more detailed study.
It is important to study the entire digestive tract in order to assess the extent and severity of the clinical picture. Since the symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease are identical to those present in other conditions , it is essential that this diagnosis is rigorous in order to choose the most appropriate treatment.
How is inflammatory bowel disease treated?
Treatment can be medical and / or surgical, depending on the type of disease and its extent. This treatment should help to relieve symptoms and encourage healing of intestinal injuries. In general, this treatment evolves in progressive stages until the desired response is achieved.
It is also interesting to be able to stop inflammatory crises and prevent future relapses, which is currently more viable through new biological and immunomodulatory therapies. The control of inflammation allows not only important symptomatic relief, but also reduces the need for surgery, the use of more aggressive medications and hospitalizations.