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Struggling and living with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) can be an embarrassing and painful battle. While there is no cure for this condition there are ways that it can be managed and symptoms can be alleviated and flare-ups decreased. Let’s learn more about this condition and how it affects the health and well-being of those that are diagnosed with this disease.

 

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is described as a cluster of intestinal disorders known as Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease that cause an inflammatory response to present itself in the gut. Ulcerative Colitis causes inflammation in the inner lining of the colon which leads to ulcers and sores. Whereas Crohn’s Disease causes inflammation in the lining of the digestive tract. Common causes are possible immune system malfunction that triggers an autoimmune response, as well as genetics.

While these two conditions are similar in the fact that they both affect the intestines they both have their own unique signs and symptoms.

 

 

 

Ulcerative Colitis

  • Diarrhea containing blood and pus
  • Abdominal pain and cramping
  • Rectal pain and discomfort
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Urgent need for a bowel movement
  • Inability to have a bowel movement despite urgency

 

Crohn’s Disease

  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Abdominal pain and cramping
  • Blood in your stool
  • Reduced appetite and weight loss
  • Mouth sores

Common risk factors include:

  • Ethnicity- Caucasians have a higher risk of developing issues with IBD.
  • Family History- When a parent or sibling has IBD it can increase your risk of developing IBD.
  • Smoking
  • Lifestyle Factors- Consuming a diet that is high in fat and high in processed, refined foods.

Complications

 

 

 

Ulcerative Colitis

  • Colon Cancer
  • Skin, eye, and joint inflammation
  • Blood clots
  • Perforated Colon
  • Severe Dehydration

 

Crohn’s Disease

  • Colon Cancer
  • Skin, eye, and joint inflammation
  • Blood clots
  • Bowel obstruction
  • Malnutrition
  • Ulcers

 

While IBD is greatly determined by genetic factors and family health history there are some preventative tactics that can decrease the development and onset of this condition while also decreasing its severity making it more manageable.

 


 

Proper Health Screenings

When it comes to preventing any chronic health condition making sure that you are getting an annual physical and having routine blood work will help especially if you have a genetic or hereditary risk factor concerning IBD. Being honest and letting your doctor know if you have a history of or genetic predisposition to IBD can help with early detection.

 

Tracking Bowel Habits

Having a basic understanding of your body and being aware of any unusual changes to your bowel habits. Keeping a journal where you track and record symptoms and bowel habits. Tracking how your body reacts to certain foods that you eat and looking for patterns. Taking all of this information to your doctor can alert them to potential issues and prompt them to run additional and more specific testing to get a more accurate diagnosis.

 

Management Tips

If you have been diagnosed with IBD working with your healthcare provider and following their instructions as to what changes you should be making with your diet and nutrition as well as what medications and supplements you should take will help with managing and alleviating painful flare-ups. There are some general tips that you can include that will also aid in you seeking relief from symptoms and managing your IBD.

  • Quit smoking if you are a smoker.
  • Make dietary and nutritional changes as necessary; decrease trigger foods.
  • Get active and exercise.
  • Include gut healing supplements and probiotics as recommended by your healthcare professional.

 

Slow & Steady

While there are genetic and hereditary factors that contribute to the onset of Inflammatory Bowel Disease there are a variety of preventative tactics that you can include in your daily lifestyle that can help to prevent the onset of this condition. Leading a balanced and healthy lifestyle that includes a healthy diet, healthy wellness habits, and yearly screenings are all part of prevention and early detection.

 

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