Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) in St. Louis, MO
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What is inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)?
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is an overarching term to describe inflammation in your digestive tract. IBD (inflammatory bowel disease) is typically grouped into two similar but distinct diseases:
- Crohn’s disease: Crohn's disease creates uncomfortable inflammation of your gastrointestinal tract, specifically your colon. It is usually found at the end of the small bowel, the start of the colon, and could impact any portion of the GI tract from the mouth to the anus.
- Ulcerative colitis: Ulcerative colitis also shows up through swelling of the colon but is generally accompanied by ulcerations in the tissue. This condition is limited to the large bowel.
The gastrointestinal specialists at a Specialists in Gastroenterology location near you frequently identify and handle inflammatory bowel disease. If you believe you might be affected by this condition and require treatment for IBD in St. Louis, MO, please contact one of our locations to connect with a gastrointestinal specialist.
What causes inflammatory bowel disease?
IBD is often characterized as an immune system disorder. Just like when your body appropriately triggers your immune system to fight bacteria or a virus, an abnormal immune system trigger can attack the cells in the digestive tract. As a result, parts of the small intestine and colon become swollen. IBD does have a hereditary factor and can be passed down from parent to child. Risk factors of IBD include:
- Age: The majority of patients diagnosed with IBD are under the age of 30.
- Geography: Living in an industrialized region and/or northern areas may enhance the chance of inflammatory bowel disease.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen
- Ethnicity or race: Inflammatory bowel disease is most frequent in Caucasians and people of Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry but can affect persons of any race.
- Tobacco use
- Family history: Inflammatory bowel disease is linked to being passed down genetically.
What are the symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease?
Symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease will differ based on the disease and its severity. The common signs of IBD involve:
- Chronic tiredness
- Undesired weight loss
- Rectal discomfort
- Loose stools
- Changes in your normal menstrual cycle
- Distress or drainage near or around the anus
- Abdominal distress
- Urgent need to defecate
- Stomach distress
- Blood in your stool
- Abrupt loss of weight
- Joint ache or stiffness
- Mouth sores
How is IBD identified?
Inflammatory bowel disease is often diagnosed with a variety of techniques, chosen by your Specialists in Gastroenterology provider based on your symptoms. An endoscopy or a colonoscopy is often used to detect IBD. In some cases, other imaging evaluations will be conducted, such as CT, MRI, or x-ray.
What are the treatments for IBD?
The leading treatment goal is to lessen the inflammation in your GI tract to reduce or relieve symptoms. Treatment may eventually lead to long-term remission of inflammatory bowel disease. IBD treatment options that may be recommended for our St. Louis, MO patients include:
- Anti-inflammatory drugs targeted at an overactive immune system
- Vitamin D and calcium supplements
- Enteral nutrition (liquid supplements)
- Anti-diarrheal medications
- Iron supplements
Get relief from IBD
IBD is not a fatal condition. However, if left unmanaged and untreated for extended periods of time, a person with IBD could face increased complications that might be fatal. Additionally, leaving inflammatory bowel disease untreated may lead to a greater risk of developing colon cancer. With a physician-led network of gastroenterologists, Specialists in Gastroenterology has options for care to help control the symptoms and boost the lives of those struggling with inflammatory bowel disease. To get help for IBD in St. Louis, MO, please get in touch with one of our GI locations today.
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