Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) – Symptoms and Causes

What is inflammatory bowel disease

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a group of intestinal disorders which lead to long-term inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract.

The digestive tract consists of the mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine and big intestine. It is responsible for the breakdown of food, the absorption of nutrients and the elimination of all material and waste.

Any inflammation along the gastrointestinal tract interferes with normal function. IDB can be very painful and serious, and in some cases they can even be life-threatening.

This article helps you to know everything on inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), including types, sources of complications, and more.

Types of inflammatory bowel disease?

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a common term that includes a number of diseases. The two most commonly occurring diseases are ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.

Crohn’s disease can cause inflammation anywhere in the digestive tract. However, it generally impacts the tail of the small intestine.

In ulcerative colitis infection occurs in the large intestine.

What causes inflammatory bowel disease?

It is unclear exactly what causes inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). However, genetics and problems with the immune system have been related to IBD.


You may be at high risk of developing IBD if you have a brother or sister or relative with IBD. This is why scientists believe that IBD can have a genetic component.

The immune system

The immune system can also play an important role in IBD.

Normally, the immune system protects the body against pathogenic agents (organisms that cause diseases and infections). A bacterial or viral infection in the digestive system can boost an immune response.

When the body attempts to fight the invaders, the digestive tract suffering from infection. Once the infection disappears, the inflammation decreases as well. This is a healthy immune response.

In persons with IBD, however, inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract may occur even when there is no infection. Rather, the immune system attacks the cells of the body itself. It is known as an autoimmune response.

IBD may also occur when inflammation does not decrease after recovery from infection. Inflammation can take months or even years.

Risk factors for developing inflammatory bowel disease?

The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) An estimated 1.6 million people in the U.S. suffer from inflammatory bowel disease.

The most important risk factors associated with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are:


Tobacco use is one of the most important risk factors for Crohn’s disease.

Tobacco use also increases the pain and other symptoms of Crohn’s disease and increases the risk of complications. Although ulcerative colitis most commonly affects non-smokers and former smokers.


All populations have IBD. But some ethnic groups, such as Caucasians and Ashkenazi Jews, are at greater risk.


IBD can happen at any age, but for the most part, it starts before the age of 35.

Family history

People with family members, sibling, or child with IBD are more likely to develop on their own.

Geographical region

People living in urban areas and industrialised countries have a greater risk of developing IBD.

People who work in white-collar jobs also have higher rates of contracting the disease. Some of this may be due to lifestyle choices and diet.

People who live in developed countries have a tendency to eat more fats and processed foods. IBD also occurs more frequently in people living in northern climates, where it is generally cold.


IBD generally affects men as much as it does women. Ulcerative colitis occurs more frequently in men, while Crohn’s disease occurs more frequently in women.

Symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease?

IBD symptoms vary according to the site and severity of the inflammation, Symptoms may include the following:

  • diarrhea, This occurs when the affected portions of the intestine are unable to reabsorb water.
  • bleeding ulcers, It can result in blood in the stool (hematochezia)
  • stomach pain, cramps and bloating as a result of bowel obstruction.
  • weight loss and anemia, These can delay the growth and development of children.

Crohn’s disease can also cause ulcers in the mouth. At times, ulcers and fissures also occur around the genital area or anus.

IBD may also be associated with issues outside the digestive system, such as:

  • eye inflammation
  • skin disorders
  • arthritis

Complications related to inflammatory bowel disease?

Possible IBD complications include the following:

  • malnutrition, The result is weight loss.
  • colon cancer
  • fistulas, or ulcers that cross the wall of the intestine and create a hole between the different parts of the digestive tract.
  • intestinal rupture, or perforation
  • bowel obstruction

In some cases, a serious IBD crisis may bring you into shock. It can be life-threatening. The shock is due to a loss of blood during a sudden long episode of bloody diarrhea.

How is inflammatory bowel disease diagnosed?

To diagnose IBD, your doctor will first question you about the medical history of your family, as well as your bowel movements.

Once the physical examination has been completed, your doctor may order one or more diagnostic tests.

Stool sample and blood test

These tests may be used to verify infections and other illnesses.

Blood tests may also sometimes be used to tell the difference between Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. However, only blood tests may not be used in the diagnosis of IBD.

Barium enema

A barium enema is a radiographic examination of the colon and small intestinal tract. In the past, this type of test has generally been used, but is now being replaced by a wide range of other tests.

Flexible sigmoidoscopy and colonoscopy

In these cases, A camera is attached to the end of a thin and flexible probe for checking the colon.

The camera goes through the anus. It enables your doctor to verify the presence of ulcers, fistulas and other damage to the rectum and colon.

A colonoscopy may investigate the entire length of the large intestine. Sigmoidoscopy reviews only the last 20 inches of the wide intestine, which is the sigmoid colon.

During these procedures, a small sample of the intestinal wall may be taken. That is known as a biopsy. Microscopic examination of this biopsy may be helpful in diagnosing IBD.

Capsule endoscopy

It checks the small intestine, that’s harder to test than the large intestine. To test, you swallow a small capsule with a camera.

As it moves around your small bowel, it takes pictures. Once you have released the camera into your barstool, the images can be viewed on a computer.

This test is only used where other tests have not been successful in determining the reason for Crohn’s disease symptoms.

Plain film or X-ray

Simple abdominal radiography is used under emergency conditions where intestinal rupture is suspected.

Computer tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

CT scans are mainly computer-generated radiographs. They make an image more detailed than a standard radiograph. As such, they are useful for small bowel inspection. They may also be able to detect IBD complications.

MRI scans use magnetic fields to produce images of the body. It’s safer than radiography. Magnetic resonance imaging is especially useful for soft tissue inspection and fistula detection.

MRIs and CT scanners may be used to determine the amount of bowel affected by IBD.

What is the treatment of inflammatory bowel diseases?

IBD is treated differently.


Anti-inflammatory medications are the primary choice for treating IBD. They reduce inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract. But they have a variety of side effects.

Anti-inflammatories used for IBD include regular-dose aminosalycylates such as mesalamine, sulfasalazine and by-products, as well as corticosteroids.

immune modulators prevent inflammation by preventing the immune system from attacking the intestinal tract.

This group consists of medications that block TNF (tumour necrotic factor). TNF is an inflammatory mediator of the immune system responsible for inflammation. Excess TNF in the blood is usually blocked, but in people with IBD, increased levels of TNF can lead to more inflammation.

Another drug, tofacitinib (Xeljanz), is a new option which works in a different manner to reduce inflammation.

Immunosuppressants can have different side effects, such as skin rashes and infections.

Antibiotics are used to kill bacteria which can cause or irritate IBD symptoms.

Anti-diarrheal medications and laxatives may also be useful in the treatment of IBD symptoms.

Lifestyle choices

Lifestyle choices play an important role when you are affected by IBD.

Drinking a lot of fluids helps compensate for bowel movements. Avoiding milk products and stress also improves the symptoms.

Exercising regularly and not smoking may improve your health.


Vitamin and mineral supplementation can help reduce nutritional deficiencies. As an example, iron supplements may treat anemia.

Check with your doctor before you get any new dietary supplements.


Surgery may sometimes be crucial for people with IBD. Some procedures include the following:

  • strictureplasty to open a narrowing of the intestinal tract.
  • closing or removing fistulas.
  • removing parts of the intestine from people with Crohn’s disease.
  • full removal of the colon and rectum, if severe ulcerative colitis.

Routine colonoscopy is used to examine colon cancer because people with IBD are at greater risk of developing it.

How can inflammatory bowel disease be prevented?

We cannot prevented the genetic causes of IBD. But you may be able to reduce your risk of IBD or avoid a relapse by:

  • Include healthy food in your eating habits.
  • exercising regularly
  • quitting smoking

IBD may cause discomfort, but there are ways to manage the disease while maintaining a healthy and normal lifestyle.

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