What is inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)?
IBD is an umbrella term that covers inflammation-related digestive diseases. There are two types of IBD. Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, both diseases involve chronic inflammation and usually involve severe symptoms, including diarrhea, chronic fatigue, weight loss and abdominal pain or cramping.
Crohn's disease occurs when the lining of your digestive tract becomes inflamed. This type of inflammation can often spread to deep layers of body tissue and can cause debilitating pain in severe cases. Crohn's can affect different parts of the digestive tract in different people.
Ulcerative colitis is localized to the colon, or large intestine - "colitis" means inflammation of the colon. In people with this disease, the lining of the colon becomes inflamed and sores, or ulcers, develop. Like Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis can cause serious abdominal pain.
What is irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?
IBS is actually a "functional disorder" or a syndrome, defined as a group of symptoms that occur together. Those symptoms are abdominal pain, cramping, bloating, diarrhea or constipation (or both, alternating) and gas.
IBS is considered a chronic symptom that requires lifelong management, although only a small percentage of patients with IBS have severe symptoms according to Dr. Samrat Jankar, a leading gastroenterologist in Pune.
IBS has been associated with anxiety and depression - 50 to 90% of IBS cases may co-exist with a psychological condition, with depression being the most common association.
What Is The Difference Between IBS vs IBD?
IBS is the less severe condition of the two. IBS is usually accompanied with abdominal pain and discomfort, or a change in appearance or frequency of stool. Many patients also report that certain foods can trigger IBS symptoms. It can be hard to understand sometimes, even for doctors, because there is no known cause for IBS. Unlike many other diseases, there is no physical or anatomical problem that is associated with IBS. A possible cause of irritable bowel syndrome could be severe food poisoning, as most people who suffer from IBS report to have had bouts with food poisoning in the past.
On the other hand, IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease) is a structural disease, meaning there are physical changes in your digestive system. It is a broad-spectrum term of diseases with the most common forms of diagnosed IBD being Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis (both of which are a result of inflammation throughout your digestive system). The symptoms include severe diarrhea, pain, fatigue, and unexplained weight loss.
How Can I Manage My IBS or IBD?
Once you are diagnosed with either of these conditions, a gastroenterologist or stomach specialist can help you determine your next step.
IBS is typically managed through lifestyle and diet changes; also there are new medications on the market that can control the diarrhea or constipation that can accompany IBS. There are many cases that seem to have been treated with antibiotics in a "one-and-done" treatment. Often, however, the symptoms returned. It’s important to start watching what you eat. Many patients start to keep a food diary, writing down what they eat and how it affects them. Eliminating certain foods can help with the day-to-day symptoms.
IBD is a chronic disease for which medication or surgery can be done, but it can often be treated with medications, although those will vary based on the diagnosis. Regular care and oversight by a gastroenterologist is necessary for IBD patients.
If you’ve been living with stomach issues that are persistent and unexplained, it’s time to visit Dr Samrat Jankar, an experienced gastrointestinal surgeon so that he can work on the diagnosis and a treatment plan with you.