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Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD/IBS)

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a group of disorders that cause chronic inflammation of the intestines. There are a few main types of IBD including small intestine bacteria overgrowth (SIBO), ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disease.

Common signs and symptoms of IBD may include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Blood in stool
  • Fatigue
  • Reduced appetite
  • Weight loss or abdominal pain

These conditions can affect people of all ages, but most commonly affects people between the ages of 15-30. The exact cause of IBD is unknown, however, experts believe it may be caused by an immune system malfunction or hereditary factors.

How is Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) treated?

While there is no cure for IBD, treatment is done to help reduce the inflammation that causes symptoms. There are a number of different drug therapies that can be used to manage the disease, including the following:

  • 5-ASAs: Aminosalicylates (5-ASAs) are often the first treatment option for mild to moderate ulcerative colitis. They may also be less often prescribed for mild Crohn’s disease. These medications work by reducing inflammation and allowing damaged tissues to heal.
  • Antibiotics: Antibiotics can be used to treat complications associated with IBD such as abscesses and fistulas as well as for treatment of other IBD symptoms. They are often used in conjunction with other drugs.
  • Corticosteroids: Corticosteroids such as prednisone work to help lower inflammation in the GI tract. However, they should only be used on a short-term basis, as they have a high potential for side effects.
  • Immunosuppressants: These medications work by suppressing the immune system to reduce levels of inflammation in those with IBD.
  • Diet and lifestyle changes: In addition to drug therapies, most patients living with IBS/IBD benefit greatly from identifying triggering foods and avoiding them. The food(s) you may need to restrict depend on the type of irritable bowel disease you have.
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