Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) often relates to either Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. Both conditions affect the gastrointestinal tract and cause chronic inflammation. When they aren’t treated, it can lead to severe complications in the GI tract and can cause permanent damage. While each condition is similar, the area that it affects is the biggest difference. It’s important to understand IBD and how it can affect your life.
Understanding Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Crohn’s disease tends to affect any part of the GI tract, but typically affects the portion of the small intestine right before the large intestine. This can cause damaged areas to appear in patches next to areas of healthy tissue. Inflammation can reach through multiple layers of the GI tract and cause severe pain.
Ulcerative colitis occurs in the large intestine and rectum. It also causes a continuous area of damage, starting at the rectum and spreading into the colon. Inflammation tends to only be present in the innermost area of the colon.
Symptoms can be similar for each disease. These symptoms include:
- Persistent diarrhea
- Bleeding in the rectum
- Unexplained weight loss
- Abdominal pain
There is no known cause for IBD, but it can be the result of a weakened immune system. In order to treat your IBD, you may need different medications to treat your symptoms and reduce inflammation in your GI tract. In some cases, you may need to remove the damaged portions of the GI tract. You might experience flare-ups where your pain is intense and can affect your daily life. It’s important to talk to your gastroenterologist about changes you can make to your lifestyle to help manage your pain.
Contact Our Gastroenterologist Today
Make sure that you understand Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis and how they can affect your life. Contact your gastroenterologist to learn more about IBD and how to manage your symptoms.