What is Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
Inflammatory Bowel Disease, also known as IBD, is an inflammatory disease of the gastrointestinal tract. The two main forms of inflammatory disease that makes up IBD is Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis. IBD is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system attacks bacterial and other elements of the digestive system. It’s estimated that over four million people worldwide are diagnosed with Inflammatory Bowel Disease.
Symptoms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease include abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, rectal bleeding, frequent trips to the restroom, cramps, weight loss, and unexplained high fevers. Anemia is also often present in those that suffer from IBD. IBD can also lead to arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis, perennial disease ( fistula’s ), and pyoderma gangrenosum.
Gastroenterologist (GI) doctors use multiple diagnostic tests to confirm if a patient has Inflammatory Bowel Disease. The diagnostic tests include:
- Colonoscopy – A colonoscopy is an examination of the large bowel and part of the small bowel with a fiber optic camera on a flexible tube. The tube is inserted through the anus and allows the person performing the procedure to visually inspect the area and perform biopsies.
- Gastroscopy – Similar to a colonoscopy, a gastroscopy is used to examine the esophagus, stomach, and small bowel of the gastrointestinal tract. The tube is inserted through the mouth and allows the person performing the procedure to visually inspect the area and perform biopsies.
- Blood Tests – While a complete blood test work up cannot accurately diagnose IBD by itself it does help confirm presence of inflammation in the body. A Gastroenterologist may want the following types of blood work to be done: Anemia, White Blood Cell levels, Differential, Platelet count, and Sedimentation Rate ( ESR ).
- Stool Tests – Just like blood work tests, stool tests cannot accurately diagnose IBD by itself but can aid in the diagnosis of IBD. Stool tests are normally done from the comfort of your home by collecting stool and placing it into special vials.
Currently there is no cure for Inflammatory Bowel Disease but several treatment options are available to help patients achieve periods of remission. Prescription drugs, also known as maintenance drugs, are frequently used to curb inflammation and active parts of the disease. The type of medicine used to treat IBD include Sulfa drugs, Corticosteroids, 5-Aminosalicylates, Immunosuppressive’s, and Anti-TNF