Department of Surgery »  Conditions & Procedures »  Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is a group of inflammatory conditions of the colon and small intestine. The colon is part of the body's digestive system. The digestive system removes and processes nutrients ( vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and water) from foods and helps pass waste material out of the body. The digestive system is made up of the esophagus, stomach, and the small and large intestines.

The first 6 feet of the large intestine are called the large bowel or colon. The last 6 inches are the rectum and the anal canal. The anal canal ends at the anus (the opening of the large intestine to the outside of the body).

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The main forms of IBD are Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis (UC).

Accounting for far fewer cases are other forms of IBD:

  • Collagenous colitis
  • Lymphocytic colitis
  • Ischaemic colitis
  • Diversion colitis
  • Behçet's syndrome

Symptoms

  • abdominal pain
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • rectal bleeding
  • weight loss
  • various associated complaints or diseases like arthritis, pyoderma gangrenosum, and primary sclerosing cholangitis.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis is generally by colonoscopy with biopsy of pathological lesions.

Treatment

Depending on the level of severity, IBD may require immunosuppression to control the symptom, such as prednisone, TNF inhibition, azathioprine (Imuran), methotrexate, or 6-mercaptopurine. More commonly, treatment of IBD requires a form of mesalamine.

Often, steroids are used to control disease flares and were once acceptable as a maintenance drug. In use for several years in Crohn's disease patients and recently in patients with ulcerative colitis, biologicals have been used such as TNF inhibitors.

Severe cases may require surgery, such as bowel resection, strictureplasty or a temporary or permanent colostomy or ileostomy.

Alternative medicine treatments for bowel disease exist in various forms, however such methods concentrate on controlling underlying pathology in order to avoid prolonged steroidal exposure or surgical excisement..

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