Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs) are a family of medical conditions – mainly, Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis (UC) - that tend to affect the colon and small intestines, and are characterized by a range of unpleasant symptoms. The main difference between UC and Crohn's disease is that Crohn's disease can affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract, the lining and walls of which become inflamed and ulcers develop. UC, on the other hand, is normally confined to the colon and the rectum areas. The causes of inflammatory bowel diseases are unknown, but scientists believe IBD is the result of an overactive immune response linked to a bacterial imbalance in the gut. Although the environment may play a role in who suffers from IBD, the main contributing factor is genetic susceptibility.
Sufferers of Inflammatory bowel diseases frequently complain of fever, diarrhea, rectal bleeding, stomach upset and stomach pains, and cramp in the pelvic region. Also, tiredness, weight loss, loss of appetite and nausea are common symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis.
There are a wide-range of treatments available for Inflammatory bowel diseases that offer alleviation for sufferers – primarily, a range of specialized drugs, which are widely available. If you detect any of the symptoms of IBD, you should make an appointment to see your doctor so that the correct drug treatment can be commenced without delay. Which drug is appropriate for you depend on the form of IBD suffered, but drugs commonly-prescribed include prednisone, mesalazine, ciprofloxacin and colozal. More serious cases of IBD may require the prescription of an immunosuppressant drug to control the symptoms.
There are also things you can do at home that will help control the symptoms of IBD. A healthy diet with decreased fiber and dairy products is often recommended for Ulcerative Colitis. Where the diagnosis is Crohn's disease, a Nil-By-Mouth regime, and a liquid diet can often help.
Following a period of successful treatment, steroids are often also used to control flare-ups. Very serious cases of IBD may require surgery. The surgical procedures available for IBD include bowel resection, strictureplasty, colostomy or ileostomy.
While IBD is difficult and unpleasant to live with, when properly treated it need not affect the quality of life of sufferers significantly. In fact, while IBD is normally recurrent, the vast majority of sufferers adapt and live very full lives, managing to repress the symptoms. IBD sufferers do have an enhanced risk of colorectal cancer, but the good news is that because IBD sufferers are under regular colonoscopy, the chances of early detection and treatment are much higher for them.
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The research for the treatment of the inflammatory bowel disease is ongoing. One promising development is the use of probiotic microbes in substances such as butyric acid. When injected, these might produce compounds that reduce inflammation. Further research and trials need to be undertaken before the full potential of probiotics for IBD treatment can be appraised. In short, the future looks promising for the development of IBD treatments that will give patients long-term remission from this unpleasant condition. And because of this, proper diet and strict adherence to the medical regimen is must for people suffering from this condition.