Inflammatory Bowel Diseases
Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis
Facts to know about Inflammatory Bowel Diseases – Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease
What are inflammatory bowel diseases – Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis?
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is an umbrella term that covers conditions related to chronic (long-standing) inflammation of digestive system. Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are the different types of IBD. IBD is often confused with a non-inflammatory condition known as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), as they may have some similar symptoms and can also coexist in the same patient.
Crohn’s disease is a type of IBD that is characterized by inflammation of the lining that spreads to deeper tissues with time. Crohn’s disease may affect different areas of the digestive tract (from mouth to anus) in different people.
Ulcerative colitis is also an inflammatory disease of the intestine but restricted only in the large bowel i.e colon and rectum. Ulcerative proctitis is yet limited form of ulcerative colitis where only the rectum is involved and is characterized by inflammation, redness, and itching of rectum.
Lymphocytic colitis is another inflammatory condition of the large intestine but it is not related to Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.
What are the causes of inflammatory bowel disease – ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease?
While there are no known causes, some risk factors for IBD are:
- Age: < 30 years, though it can happen at any age
- Certain medications
- Family history
- Habits like smoking
- Poor dietary habits
What are the symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease?
Signs and symptoms of IBD may be mild or severe at different times. Also, there may be periods of active disease followed by periods of remission or silence. Some of the common signs and symptoms are:
- Blood in stools
- Fistula formation near anal region
- Pain and cramping in stomach or abdomen
- Ulcers or sores in mouth
- Weight loss and reduced appetite
Irritable bowel syndrome, which might mimic IBD has symptoms such as:
- Abdominal pain
How is inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease diagnosed?
A gastroenterologist may diagnose Crohn’s disease by:
- Medical history
- Medical examination
- Tests, including:
- – Blood tests – Tests to evaluate anemia or infection
- – Stool tests – Faecal occult blood test
- – Biopsy
- Diagnostic Procedures: Depending on the requirement, one or a combination of tests can be conducted such as:
- – Colonoscopy
- – Computerized tomography (CT)
- – Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- – Capsule endoscopy:The patient is made to swallow a capsule with a camera to take pictures of the small intestine
- – Balloon-assisted enteroscopy
What is the treatment for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis?
At present, there is no definitive cure for Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. The intention of giving the medical treatment is to lessen the severity of the inflammation and thus reduce the signs and symptoms of the disease and decrease the possibility of complications. The disease is generally managed with:
- Lifestyle modification, diet and nutrition therapy
- – Surgery is recommended in cases where medications and lifestyle modifications don’t work. A surgeon removes the portion of the digestive tract damaged by the inflammation and reconnects with the healthy sections. Surgery may also be carried outto close fistulas and drain
What diet should a patient with inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease take?
Since diet is not a direct cause of the disease, changing the diet plan and pattern may not treat the disease but it can help in controlling the symptoms.
In case of a severe bout of the disease, your gastroenterologist may sometimes advise a special diet to be administered via a feeding tube (called enteral nutrition) or nutrients that may be injected into a vein (called parenteral nutrition) as a short-term measure in combination with medications.
Some of the following tips may be adopted to improve the eating habits:
- Maintain a record of what you eat and associated symptoms to help identify problematic food items.
- Have smaller portions of meals at frequent intervals.
- Avoid eating deeplyfried and greasy food items.
- Consider avoiding milk and milk products.
- Avoid high-fiber foods such as corn, nuts, seeds etc.
- Engage in physical activity, weight and stress management activities.
To know more about inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease and its treatment, you can request a callback and our Inflammatory bowel disease specialist will call you and answer all your queries.
- Mayo Clinic. Crohn’s disease. Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/crohns-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20353304 Accessed on January 27th, 2018.
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Crohn’s Disease. Available at: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/crohns-disease Accessed on January 27, 2018
- US National Library of Medicine. Crohn’s Disease. Available at: https://medlineplus.gov/crohnsdisease.html Accessed on January 27, 2018
- US National Library of Medicine. Crohn’s Disease. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMHT0022801/ Accessed on January 27, 2018