Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Inflammatory Bowel Disease


Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is an umbrella term to define conditions associated with inflammation of the intestines. While it is often assumed to be an auto-immune condition, it could also be caused due to the immune system attacking pathogens present in the intestines, thereby causing inflammation. Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s disease are the two major types of IBD. IBD can be debilitating and requires serious medical attention.

Signs and symptoms

Patients with IBD usually experience diarrhoea, blood in the stools, abdominal pain and cramping, fatigue, reduced appetite and unexplained weight-loss. The intensity of these symptoms can vary.

Causes and risk factors

The exact cause of IBD is not clear. It may be caused due to an auto-immune response or due to infection. Smoking, a family history of IBD and consuming NSAIDs increases your risk of developing the condition.


IBD increases your risk of colon cancer. It can also increase your risk of other inflammatory conditions in the body, like arthritis.


The doctor will probably need to rule out other conditions that cause the same symptoms to diagnose IBD. This would require a panel of blood and stool tests, CT scans, X-ray scans, an endoscopy and a sigmoidoscopy. A balloon-assisted enteroscopy may also be required to confirm the diagnosis.

Treatment and Surgical Interventions

Treatment aims to reduce inflammation, tackle possible complications and hopefully push the condition into long-term remission. The doctor will treat the condition with a combination of anti-inflammatory drugs, immunosuppressors, biologics, antibiotics and nutritional supplements. If diet, lifestyle changes and drug therapies do not work, the doctor may choose to take a surgical approach, which varies depending on the type of IBD.


IBD cannot be prevented but the risk can be significantly reduced by maintaining a healthy diet and level of hydration and quitting smoking.


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