The exact cause of IBD is not known. Some believe IBD may be the result of: Inherited genetics—may be a family history of IBDReaction to a virus or bacteria that damages the colon and rectumCompromised immune system or infection that affects the immune system
IBD is more common in people who are Caucasian or of northern European or Jewish ancestry.
The following factors increase your chance of developing IBD: Having a family member with IBDHaving problems with the immune system
Symptoms may be constant or occur during flare-ups. Symptoms depend on the type of IBD, but common symptoms may include: Abdominal pain and crampingDiarrheaWeight loss and loss of appetiteBleeding from the intestinesUlcers in the intestinesInflammation of the rectumDraining around the rectumBloating or feeling of fullnessGasBloody diarrheaAbdominal sounds such as gurglingNausea and vomitingJoint pain
You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
Images of your bodily structures may be needed. This can be done with: Upper GI endoscopyColonoscopyBarium enemaX-rayCapsule endoscopy
Your bodily fluids and waste products may be tested. This can be done with: Blood testsStool culture
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There is no cure for IBD but treatments can help control symptoms. Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment options include:
IBD symptoms may be reduced with simple dietary changes.
Dietary changes may include switching to a diet that is: Low in fat
fruits and vegetablesLow in fiber and dairy products, if advised by your dietitian
Overall wellness may also play a role in reducing IBD flare-ups. Find ways to reduce stress. Get plenty of rest.
Most medications for IBD focus on reducing the swelling and irritation. Medications include: Anti-inflammatory drugsCorticosteroidsImmune system suppressorsAntibiotics to kill germs in the intestinal tractAnti-diarrhea medicationLaxativesPain relievers
Since the cause is not clear, there are no known prevention steps.
Botoman VA, Bonner GF, Botoman DA. Management of inflammatory bowel disease. Am Fam Physician. 1998;57(1):57-68.
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/ibd. Updated January 14, 2014. Accessed October 1, 2014.
Last reviewed August 2015 by Daus Mahnke, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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