Our Gastroenterology Blog
Posts for tag: Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Whether you've been diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) or suspect that you may have the disease, you probably have a few questions. The gastroenterologists at Gastrointestinal Specialists in Torresdale, Bucks County and Bala Cynwyd, PA, discuss several things you should know about IBD.
What is IBD?
As the name implies, IBD causes inflammation in your digestive tract. When the sensitive tissues of your gastrointestinal system become inflamed, diarrhea, cramping, pain and other symptoms can occur. Ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease are the most common types of IBD. Nationally, approximately 1.6 million people are affected by IBD, according to the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation.
What are the symptoms of IBD?
In addition to diarrhea, pain and cramping, common symptoms include:
- Lack of appetite and weight loss
- Bloody stools or stool covered in pus
- Urgent need to defecate
- Delayed growth in children
- Anal fistulas
What is the difference between Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis?
If you have Crohn's disease, inflammation can occur anywhere in your gastrointestinal tract, while ulcerative colitis affects only the large intestine and rectum. Although the inflammation caused by Crohn's disease can penetrate multiple layers of tissue, ulcerative colitis only affects the digestive tract lining. In addition to inflammation, ulcerative colitis also causes open sores, or ulcers, in the large intestine and rectum.
How is IBD treated?
Both Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis are chronic conditions. Although they can't be cured, their symptoms can be managed. When you visit our Torresdale, Bucks County or Bala Cynwyd offices, one or more of these treatments may be recommended:
- Anti-diarrheal medication
- Vitamin B-12 shots to prevent anemia
- Calcium and vitamin D supplementation to reduce your osteoporosis risk
- Antibiotics to treat infections and help fistulas heal
- Prescription anti-inflammatories that reduce the inflammation in your digestive tract
- Prescription immune system suppressors that prevent your body from releasing the chemicals that cause inflammation
- Surgery to remove the damaged sections of your digestive tract
The symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease can be managed or reduced by following the recommendations of your gastroenterologist. Are you concerned about your symptoms? Call Gastrointestinal Specialists to schedule an appointment. Call (215) 632-3500 for the Torresdale office, (215) 702-7090 for the Bucks County office and (610) 664-9700 for the Bala Cynwyd office.
Could your pesky gastrointestinal symptoms be caused by this digestive disorder?
When it comes to dealing with GI problems, it’s difficult to pinpoint on your own what is going on. That’s why our Philadelphia, Langhorne and Bala Cynwyd, PA team of gastroenterologists is here to help make your diagnosis and treatment easier. If you are concerned that your symptoms could be due to Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), you’re not alone. It’s estimated that about 1.4 million Americans suffer from this problem. So, what exactly is it and how can you manage your symptoms?
What is IBD?
This group of disorders is characterized by chronic inflammation of all or some of the digestive tract. The two most common forms of IBD are ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, which you may have already heard of.
With ulcerative colitis you are more likely to experience not only inflammation of the digestive system but also ulcers in the colon and rectum. The inflammation caused by Crohn’s disease, on the other hand, can spread deep into the tissues and affect the large intestines, small intestines or sometimes both.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms of IBD aren’t all the same and it will depend on where the inflammation is in the digestive tract and how severe it is. Some people may only experience minor discomfort while others’ digestive symptoms may be severe. Symptoms that are both common to Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis include:
- Low-grade fever
- Abdominal pain and cramping
- Nausea and vomiting
- Blood in the stool
- Loss or reduced appetite
- Unexpected or sudden weight loss
How can my Philadelphia, Langhorne and Bala Cynwyd, PA GI doctor help?
As you may have already guessed, the goal of treatment is to reduce inflammation and to stay away from anything that could cause these symptoms to flare-up. One of the most common types of medications used is anti-inflammatory medication. This includes treatments like corticosteroids or aminosalicylates (Azulfidine).
Another type of medication prescribed is an immune system suppressor, which reduces inflammation by suppressing the immune system. Common types of suppressors include Stelara and Imuran.
If you have ulcerative colitis and are currently dealing with a fever, your GI expert in Philadelphia, Langhorne and Bala Cynwyd may also prescribe an antibiotic to prevent infection. Come antibiotics include Cipro and Flagyl.
Other medications that may also help manage your IBD symptoms include:
- Pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen
- Anti-diarrheal medications
- Iron supplements
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin B-12 shots
If over time you discover that medications and lifestyle changes don’t provide relief then it may be time to consider surgery.
If your symptoms are pointing to IBD then it’s time you found out. Turn to the Gastrointestinal Specialists in Philadelphia, Langhorne and Bala Cynwyd, PA to help improve your digestive health.