Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

woman having stomach ache

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a chronic condition that causes inflammation in the digestive tract. According to estimates, 0.81% of adults in the UK have IBD. The impact of IBD on the older population grows with age. Hence, this year’s World IBD Day 2022 is focused on raising awareness of this.

There is no one cause of IBD, but it is thought to be the result of a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Treatment for IBD focuses on relieving symptoms and preventing flares. In this article, you’ll know about the symptoms, causes, and treatment of IBD.

Symptoms of IBD

The symptoms of IBD vary depending on the disease type and the inflammation severity. However, the most common symptoms include:

  • Abdominal pain and cramping
  • Diarrhea (which may be bloody)
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite

IBD can also cause other complications, such as:

  • Anemia (low red blood cell count)
  • Skin problems
  • Joint pain
  • Eye inflammation
  • Kidney stones

As soon as you notice any of these symptoms, it’s important to see a doctor, so they can make a diagnosis. Don’t be afraid to bring up your concerns with them. They can perform tests to rule out other conditions and confirm a diagnosis of IBD.

Causes of IBD

The exact cause of IBD is unknown, but it’s thought to be the result of a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Some people with IBD have a family history of the disease. This suggests that genetics might also play a role in developing IBD. Studies have found that certain genes are more common in people with IBD. However, it’s important to remember that not everyone with these genes will develop IBD.

It’s also believed that environmental factors may contribute to the development of IBD. For example, studies have found that people who live in industrialized countries are more likely to develop IBD than those who live in developing countries. This suggests that something in the Western environment may trigger the disease.

Bacteria shown on a man's stomach

Some researchers also believe that a viral or bacterial infection may play a role in the development of IBD. Hence, dental health plays a vital role here. The bacteria in the oral cavities can get into the stomach and cause infection. Others believe that an overactive immune system may be to blame. Although the exact cause of IBD is unknown, researchers continue to work towards finding a cure.

Treatment for IBD

There is no one-size-fits-all treatment for IBD, as the severity of the disease varies from person to person. Treatment focuses on relieving symptoms and preventing flares. Medications are the most common treatment for IBD. The medication prescribed will depend on the type of IBD and the severity of the symptoms. For example, anti-inflammatory drugs may be prescribed to reduce inflammation. Immune-suppressing drugs may be prescribed to calm the immune system. Antibiotics may be prescribed to clear bacterial infections.

Surgery may sometimes be necessary to remove damaged parts of the digestive tract. However, surgery does not cure IBD; symptoms may return after surgery. If the cause is bacteria entering the stomach due to crooked teeth, dental implants can also help. Dental procedures such as all-on-4 teeth implants can help here. Getting these implants can make the teeth function well. This can prevent the build-up of bacteria in the mouth, thereby preventing them from entering the stomach.

Working with a healthcare team to develop a treatment plan that’s right for you is essential. With proper treatment, most people with IBD can manage their symptoms and live a healthy life.

Treatment Cost for IBD

The cost of IBD treatment varies depending on the severity of the disease and the type of treatment required. In general, IBD treatment is expensive. Medications, surgery, and hospitalizations can all add up.

Fortunately, many resources are available to help cover the cost of IBD treatment. The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America offers financial assistance for people with IBD. Many insurance companies also provide coverage for IBD treatment.

Talk to your doctor if you’re worried about the cost of IBD treatment. They can help you understand your options and find a plan that’s right for you.

Final Thoughts

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease, it’s important to learn about the condition. IBD is a chronic condition that can be difficult to manage, but with the right treatment plan, most people with IBD can live normal, healthy lives. Be there for your loved one and offer support and understanding. Help them find the resources they need to manage their condition.

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