Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)

Doctor: Morgan Simpson

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Symptoms:

  • diarrhea
  • bloating
  • stomach cramps
  • sometimes, weight loss

Diagnosis:

  • X-ray- If you have severe symptoms, your doctor may use a standard X-ray of your abdominal area to rule out serious complications, such as a perforated colon.
  • Upper endoscopy- In this procedure, your doctor uses a slender, flexible, lighted tube to examine the esophagus, stomach and first part of the small intestine (duodenum). While it is rare for these areas to be involved with Crohn's disease, this test may be recommended if you are having nausea and vomiting, difficulty eating or upper abdominal pain.
  • Tests for anemia or infection- Your doctor may suggest blood tests to check for anemia, a condition in which there aren't enough red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to your tissues, or to check for signs of infection from bacteria or viruses.

How does IBD affect the digestive system:

  • Smoking is one of the main risk factors for developing Crohn’s disease. Smoking also aggravates the pain and other symptoms of Crohn’s disease and increases the risk of complications. However, ulcerative colitis primarily affects nonsmokers and ex-smokers.
  • People who live in urban areas and industrialized countries have a higher risk of getting IBD. Those with white collar jobs are also more likely to develop the disease. This can be partially explained by lifestyle choices and diet. People who live in industrialized countries tend to eat more fat and processed food. IBD is also more common among people living in northern climates, where it’s often cold.
  • IBD can happen at any age, but in most cases, it starts before the age of 35.
  • IBD is present in all populations. However, certain ethnic groups such as Caucasians and Ashkenazi Jews have a higher risk.