The term inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) encompasses four illnesses: ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, microscopic colitis, and ischemic colitis. Each of these conditions has slightly different symptoms however the treatments are all focused on the primary goal of reducing inflammation in the body, the gut in particular.
Is IBD the same as IBS?
No. The main difference is that IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) does not cause inflammation, ulcers, or damage to the gastrointestinal system. It is less serious but does include difficult symptoms such as cramps, bloating, gas, mucus in the stool, diarrhea, constipation, or both. Anemia, weight loss, bleeding, and fever are not symptoms for IBS however, it can be very tough on emotional, social, and mental health.
Is most common in the colon and ileum but flare ups can occur anywhere along the digestive tract, from mouth to rectum. Symptoms include: abdominal pain, weight loss, malnutrition, abdominal pain, and fever. Less frequent symptoms include fever lasting about 24-48 hours, canker sores in the mouth, clubbed fingernails, and thickening of the gastrointestinal (GI) lining which may cause blockage. The inflammation comes and goes and occurs more deeply than compared to ulcerative colitis (see below). If abscesses and fistulas form, surgery may be needed.
Continuous inflammation occurs in the mucosal lining of the colon and/or rectum. The most common symptoms include abdominal pain, diarrhea, and blood in the stools. The requirement for surgery and/or cancer is high. Current medication regimens have been focused on decreasing inflammation as it is theorized that leaky gut and poor mucosal immunity may be the primary cause.
With a colonoscopy, all appears normal, however, under a microscope inflammation is seen. Characterized by diarrhea (which can come or go), cramps, abdominal pain, fatigue, fever, or joint pain. Theories about the origin include an autoimmune disease, bacteria or virus, or excessive use of NSAIDs. Similar to Crohn’s, it can come and go with flare-ups and healing.
Associated with cardiovascular disease because it occurs when blood flow from arteries to a part of the colon is reduced. Most often due to atherosclerosis. The result is inflammation that can cause temporary or permanent damage to the colon. The most common results are abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, urgent bowel movements, nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting.
In all types of IBD and IBS, it is important to find the underlying cause of triggers. Symptoms can come and go, which makes it difficult to pinpoint the cause.
Some common triggers that are common to all IBD/IBS conditions:
– Medication noncompliance
– Seasonal change
– Medication (anti-inflammatory drugs, steroids, immune suppressors, and antibiotics)
– Probiotics (L.acidophilus, bifidobacteria, Saccharomyces boulardii)
– Addressing diet and nutritional deficiencies (iron, B12, copper, folic acid)
– With special attention to deficiencies due to a portion of the GI tract being removed
– Promoting healing (antioxidants including vitamins A, C, E, K, selenium, zinc, omega-3, glutathione, glutamine)
– Consider food sensitivities
– Stress management
– Smoking and alcohol cessation
– Regulated weight and regular activity
Be your own expert.
Nori supports you in being your own expert by assisting you in identifying the culprit of your condition. We will help guide you through discovering, identifying, and taking action to change what is making you sick. It’s not just you, studies show that it can take well over 21 days to build a habit.
The main source of material was adapted from: Lipski, Elizabeth, Ph.D., CCN, CHN: Digestive Wellness 4th Ed. McGraw-Hill; 2012