Inflammatory bowel disease

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) – Symptoms and causes

DEFINITION OF Inflammatory bowel disease

inflammatory bowel disease includes Crohn’s disease. It causes the tissues in your digestive tract to enlarge and become inflamed, which can result in severe diarrhoea, stomach pain, exhaustion, weight loss, and malnutrition.

various parts of the digestive tract, most frequently the small intestine, might become inflamed as a result of Crohn’s disease in various people. Frequently, the deeper layers of the bowel are affected by this inflammation.

The complications of Crohn’s disease can occasionally be fatal and can be both unpleasant and crippling.

Although Crohn’s disease has no known cure, medicines can significantly lessen its signs and symptoms and potentially result in a long-term remission and healing of the inflammation. Several Crohn’s disease patients benefit from treatment.

  • Symptoms
  • Your small or large intestine can be affected in any portion of Crohn’s disease. It could be broken up into several portions or it could be continuous. Only the colon, which is a portion of the large intestine, may be affected by the disease in certain patients.
  • Crohn’s disease signs and symptoms can be moderate to severe. The majority of the time, they come on gradually but occasionally without notice. Additionally, you might experience remissions—periods without symptoms or signs—from time to time.
  • The following are typical signs of the condition when it is active:
  • • Vomiting; Diarrhoea; Fever; Fatigue; Chest discomfort and cramps; Blood in the stool; Mouth sores; Reduced appetite and weight loss
  • • An infection from a tunnel into the skin (fistula) can cause pain or discharge close to or around the anus.
  • Additional indications and symptoms
  • In addition to symptoms that affect the gastrointestinal tract, people with severe Crohn’s disease may also have the following symptoms:
  • • Kidney stones • Iron deficiency (anaemia) • Delayed growth or sexual development in children
  • When to visit a doctor
  • Consult a physician if you experience ongoing changes in your bowel movements or any of the following indications or symptoms of Crohn’s disease:

In addition to any of the symptoms listed above, abdominal pain, blood in the stool, nausea and vomiting, prolonged diarrhoea, unexplained weight loss, and fever are additional signs.

Causes inflammatory bowel disease

It is still unclear what exactly causes Crohn’s disease. Diet and stress were once thought to be contributing factors to Crohn’s disease, but today’s medical professionals understand that these factors only serve to exacerbate the condition. Its growth is probably influenced by a number of variables.

  • • The immune system. Although researchers haven’t yet discovered one, it’s plausible that a virus or bacterium could be the cause of Crohn’s disease. An unusual immune response occurs when your immune system targets the cells in your digestive tract in addition to an invading microbe or environmental triggers.
  • • Heredity. People with family members who have Crohn’s disease tend to get it more frequently, suggesting that genes may contribute to increased risk. However, the majority of those who have Crohn’s disease do not have a family history of illness.

danger signs

Crohn’s disease risk factors may include:

  • • Age.
  • Despite the fact that Crohn’s disease can strike at any age, it is most common in children. The majority of Crohn’s disease sufferers receive their initial diagnosis before they turn 30.
  • • Ethnicity.
  • Despite the fact that any race can be affected by Crohn’s disease, white people, particularly those of Eastern European (Ashkenazi) Jewish origin, are more at risk. But Black people in North America and the UK are becoming more likely to develop Crohn’s disease. Additionally, the prevalence of Crohn’s disease is rising among immigrants from and people living in the Middle East.

• Genealogical information.

If you have a first-degree relative who has the illness, such as a parent, sibling, or kid, your risk increases. As many as 1 in 5 individuals with Crohn’s disease have a family member who also has the condition.

• Smoking cigarettes.

The most preventable risk factor for Crohn’s disease is cigarette smoking. Additionally, smoking increases the severity of the condition and the likelihood of requiring surgery. It’s crucial to stop smoking if you do.

• Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

These include ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, and other brands), naproxen sodium (Aleve), diclofenac sodium, and other brands. They may promote bowel inflammation, which exacerbates Crohn’s disease even if they may not directly cause it.

  • COMPLICATIONS OF inflammatory bowel disease
  • One or more of the following consequences could result from Crohn’s disease:
  • • A bowel blockage.
  • The thickness of the intestinal wall can be affected by Crohn’s disease in its entirety. Parts of the bowel may scar and constrict over time, causing a stricture that frequently prevents the passage of digestive fluids. • Ulcers. If you have an ulcer, surgery may be necessary to widen the stricture or occasionally to remove the diseased part of your gut. Open sores (ulcers) can develop anywhere in the digestive tract, including the mouth, the anus, and the genital region (perineum), as a result of chronic inflammation.

• Fistulas.

An irregular connection between distinct bodily organs known as a fistula can be made when ulcers completely penetrate the intestinal wall. Fistulas can form between your intestine and another organ or between your skin and intestine. The most frequent type of fistula in the inflammatory bowel disease is called perianal, meaning around or around the anal area.

Fistulas that form within the abdominal cavity can result in infections and pus-filled abscesses.

If not addressed, these can be fatal. Fistulas can develop in the skin, the bladder, the vagina, or between bowel loops, resulting in continuous stool discharge to the skin.


  • A nasal fissure. This is a tiny tear in the skin or the tissue lining the anus, both of which are potential entry points for infections. It may cause a perianal fistula and is frequently accompanied by uncomfortable bowel motions.
  • • Malnutrition. Your ability to eat and for your intestine to absorb enough nutrients to keep you nourished may be hampered by diarrhoea, abdominal pain, and cramping. Anaemia due to low iron or vitamin B-12 levels brought on by the illness is also frequently experienced.
  • carcinoma of the colon. Your risk of developing colon cancer rises if you have Crohn’s disease that damages your colon. Colonoscopies should be performed at least every ten years, starting at age 45, for those who do not have Crohn’s disease. Colonoscopies to check for colon cancer are often done every 1 to 2 years after the first one is advised for those with Crohn’s disease that has affected a significant portion of the colon. Consult your doctor to determine whether this test has to be performed more frequently or sooner.
  • Diseases of the skin. Hydradenitis suppurativa is a condition that can affect a lot of people with Crohn’s disease. In the armpits, groyne, underneath the breasts, and in the perianal region, this skin condition causes deep nodules, tunnels, and abscesses.
  • • Additional health issues. Other body organs may also experience issues as a result of Crohn’s disease. Low iron levels (anaemia), osteoporosis, arthritis, and gallbladder or liver illness are a few of these issues.
  • • Drug-related dangers. A minor risk of acquiring cancers like lymphoma and skin cancer is linked to certain Crohn’s disease medications that work by inhibiting immune system processes. They also raise the chance of getting sick.
  • Among other illnesses, corticosteroids have been linked to an increased risk of osteoporosis, bone fractures, cataracts, glaucoma, diabetes, and high blood pressure. To weigh the advantages and disadvantages of taking a drug, see your doctor.

Blood clots. Vein and artery blood clots are more likely to form in people with Crohn’s disease.

Diagnosis OF inflammatory bowel disease

After clearing out other potential causes for your signs and symptoms of IBD, your doctor will probably only identify Crohn’s disease. Crohn’s disease cannot be identified by a single test.

To assist in confirming a Crohn’s disease diagnosis, your doctor may likely employ a variety of tests, such as:

Laboratory tests

Blood testing. If you have anaemia, which is a condition where your body lacks enough red blood cells to provide enough oxygen to your tissues, or if you have an infection, your doctor may advise having blood tests done for inflammatory bowel disease

  • In addition, your doctor may order further tests to check for liver function, inflammatory levels in inflammatory bowel disease, or the existence of dormant illnesses like tuberculosis. Additionally, the ability to fight off diseases may be checked in your blood.
  • • Stool research. In order for your doctor to check your faeces for organisms like infection-causing bacteria or, in rare cases, parasites or concealed (occult) blood, you might need to produce a sample of your stool for diagnosis of inflammatory bowel disease.
  • Procedures

• Colonoscopy. With the help of a small, flexible, illuminated tube with a camera at the end, your doctor can use this test to see your entire colon as well as the terminal ileum, which is the end of your ileum. Small tissue samples (biopsies) may also be taken by your doctor during the surgery for laboratory examination, which could aid in the diagnosis. Granulomas, or groups of inflammatory cells, may point to the presence of Crohn’s disease.

CT scans performed using a computer. You might get a CT scan, a specialised X-ray procedure that offers more detail than a regular X-ray does. This examination examines both tissues inside and outside of the gut.

  • A particular type of CT scan called a CT enterogram involves ingesting an oral contrast agent and receiving intravenous contrast images of the intestines. In many medical facilities, this test has taken the place of barium X-rays because it produces better images of the small bowel used to diagnosis inflammatory bowel disease.
  • • MRI, or magnetic resonance imaging. To produce finely detailed images of organs and tissues, MRI scanners use a magnetic field and radio waves. When examining a fistula in the anal region or the small intestine, MRI is especially helpful (MR enterography).
  • MR enterography can occasionally be used to monitor the state or course of an illness. The danger of radiation exposure may be reduced by using this test instead of CT enterography, especially in younger patients that are suffer with inflammatory bowel disease.
  • • Capsule endoscopy. You take a pill with a camera within it and submit to the test. Your small intestine is photographed by the camera, which transmits the images to a belt-worn recorder. In order to screen for indicators of Crohn’s disease, the images are then downloaded to a computer and presented on a monitor. Your body lets the camera out through your stool without any pain.
  • To be certain that you have Crohn’s disease, you could still require an endoscopy and biopsy. If a suspected intestinal obstruction (obstruction) or stricture exists, a capsule endoscopy should not be carried out.
  • • Enteroscopy with balloon support. A scope and a gadget known as an overtube are both utilised for this test. In the small bowel, where conventional endoscopes can’t reach, the doctor can now see further thanks to this.
  • • This method is effective when a capsule endoscopy reveals anomalies but the diagnosis is still uncertain.
  • TREATMENT for the inflammatory bowel disease
  • As of right now, there is neither a cure nor a single medication that is effective for everyone with Crohn’s disease. Reduced inflammation that causes your symptoms and indicators is one of the medical treatments’ objectives. By reducing complications, another objective is to enhance long-term prognosis. In the best situations, this might result in a long-lasting remission in addition to symptom relief.
  • INFLAMMATORY MEDICATIONS to reduced inflammation in the inflammatory bowel disease.
  • In the course of treating inflammatory bowel disease, anti-inflammatory medicines are frequently used as the initial step. Among them are

Corticosteroids in inflammatory bowel disease

Prednisone and budesonide (Entocort EC), two corticosteroids, can lessen inflammation in your body, but not everyone with Crohn’s disease responds to them.

Corticosteroids may be administered to improve symptoms for a brief period of time (three to four months) and to bring on remission. In order to maximise the effects of other drugs, corticosteroids may also be used with an immune system suppressor. Eventually, they start to fade off.

Oral 5-aminosalicylates

In general, these medications don’t help IBD or Crohn’s patients. They consist of mesalamine (Delzicol, Pentasa, and others) and sulfasalazine (Azulfidine), which both contain sulfa. Despite being used often in the past, oral 5-aminosalicylates are now generally thought to provide very little value.

immune system inhibitors

Although they target your immune system, which creates the inflammatory agents, some medications also lessen inflammation. Combining these medications can be more effective for some people than using just one of them.

Azathioprine (Azasan, Imuran), mercaptopurine (Purinethol, Purixan), and other immunosuppressants are also available. For the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease, these immunosuppressants are the most frequently prescribed. You must continuously monitor your progress with your doctor while taking them, as well as having your blood frequently examined for any side effects such liver inflammation and diminished resistance to infection. They might also make you feel sick to your stomach and throw up.

• Methotrexate (Trexall). For Crohn’s or inflammatory bowel disease patients who do not respond well to conventional treatments, this drug is occasionally utilised. To ensure your safety, you must be closely watched.

  • Biologics
  • These treatments concentrate on immune system protein production. Vedolizumab (Entyvio), among other biologics, is used to treat Crohn’s disease. This medication blocks the ability of specific immune cell molecules, called integrins, to adhere to other intestinal lining cells. Crohn’s disease has been given approval for the gut-specific medication vedolizumab. • Infliximab (Remicade), adalimumab (Humira), and certolizumab pegol (Cimzia), which are comparable to vedolizumab in their treatment of Crohn’s disease. These medications, often known as TNF inhibitors, work by blocking the immune system protein tumour necrosis factor (TNF).

stekinumab (Stelara)

By inhibiting the activity of an interleukin, a protein implicated in inflammation, this has recently been approved as a treatment for Crohn’s disease.

• Skyrizi (isankizumab). Recently licenced for the treatment of Crohn’s disease, this medicine works by inhibiting a protein called interleukin-23.

Antibiotics FOR inflammatory bowel disease

In persons with Crohn’s disease or IBD, antibiotics can lessen the amount of outflow from fistulas and abscesses, and in rare cases, they can even heal them. Additionally, some researchers believe that antibiotics can lessen the number of dangerous bacteria that may be causing inflammation in the intestines. Cipro (ciprofloxacin) and Flagyl (metronidazole) are two antibiotics that are frequently prescribed.

additional drugs

  • Some medicines may help you manage your symptoms and indicators in addition to reducing inflammation. However, before using any over-the-counter drugs, always consult your physician. Depending on the severity of your inflammatory bowel disease or Crohn’s disease, your doctor might suggest one or more of the following:
  • • Anti-diarrheals. By giving your stool more bulk, a fibre supplement like methylcellulose (Citrucel) or psyllium powder (Metamucil) can help treat mild to moderate diarrhoea. Imodium A-D’s loperamide (for more severe diarrhoea) may work well.
  • In some patients with strictures or certain illnesses, these drugs may be ineffective or even hazardous. Prior to taking any medications, please talk to your doctor.

• Drugs to ease pain. Your doctor may prescribe acetaminophen (Tylenol, among others) for minor pain, but not other over-the-counter analgesics like ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, among others) or naproxen sodium (Aleve). Your symptoms will probably get worse from these medications, and your condition might get worse as well.

Vitamins and dietary supplements. Your doctor may advise taking vitamins and nutritional supplements if you’re not absorbing enough nutrients.

dietary intervention: inflammatory bowel disease

If you have IBD or Crohn’s disease, your doctor may suggest that you follow a particular diet that is consumed orally, through a feeding tube, or that you receive nutrients through a vein infusion (parenteral nutrition). This can enhance your overall nutrition and give your bowels a break. In the near term, inflammation may be decreased by bowel rest.

Your doctor might prescribe immune system suppressors together with short-term dietary therapy. In order to make people healthy before surgery or when other treatments are unable to control symptoms, enteral and parenteral nutrition are frequently employed.

If you have a constricted colon, your doctor may also advise a low residue or low-fiber diet to lower your chance of intestinal blockage. The goal of a low residue diet is to decrease the size and frequency of your faeces.

Surgery inflammatory bowel disease

Your doctor might advise surgery if dietary and lifestyle modifications, pharmacological therapy, or other therapies don’t help you feel better. Almost half of Crohn’s disease patients will need at least one operation. Crohn’s disease cannot be cured by surgery.

A diseased segment of your digestive tract is cut out during surgery, and the healthy sections are subsequently reconnected. Fistulas and abscesses can both be drained through surgery.

Surgery usually only provides short-term relief from Crohn’s disease. Near the rejoined tissue, the illness frequently reappears. To reduce the likelihood of recurrence, the best strategy is to administer medication after surgery.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *