What is IBD?
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
is a chronic digestive condition which is composed of two sub-conditions,
Crohn's Disease (CD) and Ulcerative Colitis (UC). Crohns Disease was named
after gastroenterologist Dr. Burrill Crohn to honor his tremendous work on
ileitis. The difference between Crohn's and Colitis is that CD is usually
located in many parts of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Colitis is usually
localized in one's colon. It is believed that IBD is an illness sparked by one's
own immune system--also known as an auto-immune disorder--in its inability to
recognize specific, normal proteins entered into the body through blood,
bacteria, and food. One's own immune system then "attacks" one's own body by
overreacting to those proteins. The immune system then creates great amounts of
inflammation throughout one's digestive tract to try and "combat" what usually
are normal proteins. Inflammation that goes on for long periods of time due to
misdiagnosis or lack of response to medications can be dangerous.
- Dangerous inflammation in one's GI tract during
times of "flare-ups" (activity). Some symptoms are routine, and normally happen without having to have a
flare-up, such as inadequate absorption of nutrients in the intestines. Both
of these states (flare-ups and everyday life with IBD) lead to:
Frequent hospitalizations/medication treatments
Surgery if the inflammation has caused permanent
intestinal damage and cannot be repaired
Blood/mucous in stools
Severe abdominal pain
High fevers (during times of flare-ups) are
Lack of appetite or Inadequate absorption of
nutrients can lead to:
- Chronic ulcers
in the GI tract. Apathous ulcers are sometimes located in the mouth and
can lead to:
- Joint pains are also seen in IBD patients
- Lactose intolerance is seen in many IBD patients. This means that they lack
the enzyme in their digestive tract to break down lactose, a disaccharide.
Some can tolerate some dairy foods, and others are completely intolerant.
"Flare-ups" is a term used when the disease is unable to fall into a remission
while taking daily medications. Most severe flare-ups in teens and adults will
require hospitalizations because of the extreme weight loss involved. Flare-ups
usually produce excessive inflammation (blood & scar tissue) in the intestinal
tract. The flare-ups are often corrected by medications if diagnosed in a timely
manner. Surgery (to remove damaged intestines) unfortunately is not uncommon in
the IBD world. Many of the current treatments involve "immune suppressive"
therapies. These drugs suppress the immune system to calm its overreaction to
antigens (proteins). More recently, drugs have been marketed to strictly target
the inflammation shed by IBD instead of shutting down the entire immune system.
There are alternative therapies being used such as: Chinese herbs and strict
diets. Most of the treatments available are truly procrastination drugs to try
and hold off IBD patients until they find out what causes the immune system to
act the way it acts.
Drugs taken daily to reduce inflammation on a
daily basis: Asacol/Pentasa
Immune-Suppresive Drugs taken to lower the
activity of the immune system entirely (older drugs): Six-mercaptopurine (6-MP),
Anti-biotic medications: Flagyl/Cipro
Flare-Up Meds (usually used in a state of
desperation): Prednisone (steroids), Remicade
Above information was obtained from
You can go to this website for detailed clinical information of IBD.