What is Inflammatory Bowel Disease or IBD?
Inflammatory bowel disease, or IBD, is a condition that affects the intestines. It’s not a specific illness per se, but is used as a collective term for diseases that cause inflammation of the intestines. The most common diseases under IBD are ulcerative colitis and Crohn Disease.
Crohn disease causes inflammation of any portion of the luminal gastrointestinal tract, anywhere from the oral cavity to perianal area. Ulcerative colitis is recurring episodes of inflammation limited to the mucosal layer of the colon.
Doctors still are not sure what exactly causes inflammatory bowel disease. However, the prevailing theory is that it happens because of genetics, or it could be related to an autoimmune response. What this means is that instead of the immune system attacking harmful diseases, it starts to attack the healthy cells of the intestines. This results in inflammation of the intestines, and the host of symptoms associated with IBD.
Because of the inflammation that results from IBD, patients can experience diarrhea, constipation, cramps, or even bloody stools. In more serious cases, patients can even experience anemia, sudden weight loss, and loss of appetite.
At the moment, there is no cure for IBD. The best thing that patients can do would be to manage their condition in order to avoid flare-ups.