Inflammatory bowel disease

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a chronic disease in which inflammation occurs in the colon and/or small intestine that occurs in the form of outbreaks. It is a disease that is more common in developed countries and in the Caucasian population. It affects men and women equally. It can appear at any age, although it is more common to appear between 20-30 years old, and also between 50-70 years old. In Spain, for every 100,000 inhabitants, it is estimated that there are 87-100 people affected by IBD.

Types of inflammatory bowel disease                     

In Spain, ulcerative colitis is more common than Crohn’s disease, 58% versus 42%, and this difference is expected to increase slightly in the coming years. Both are characterized by being essentially immune-mediated , inflammatory and chronic diseases of the intestine, which evolve in outbreaks.

Both diseases alter the body’s ability to digest food and absorb nutrients. They also share some symptoms such as diarrhea, blood in the stool, diarrhea, fatigue, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, weight loss and fever.

Crohn’s disease

It is a type of inflammatory bowel disease that can cause inflammation in any part of the intestine, but most often in a part of the small intestine called the ileum or a part of the large intestine called the colon. This disease can affect the body’s ability to digest food, absorb nutrients and eliminate waste. The most common symptoms are usually abdominal pain, diarrhea, weight loss, fever, nausea and/or vomiting, and a palpable abdominal mass on physical examination.

Ulcerative colitis

It is a chronic disease that exclusively affects the superficial layer of the colon. Depending on each patient, the severity will be one or another, it will vary. The most frequent symptoms that can be suffered are diarrhea, stools with mucus and/or blood, small and numerous stools, frequent urge to evacuate, nocturnal stools, cramps, fever and abominal pain .

Inflammatory bowel disease: main symptoms

  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Abdominal pain and cramps
  • Presence of blood in the stool
  • Decreased appetite
  • Unintentional weight loss

Causes of IBD

The exact cause of inflammatory bowel disease is unknown. From the beginning, diet and stress were suspected to be the main culprits. Today, doctors know that these factors can only aggravate the symptoms but do not cause the disease.

A possible cause could be a malfunctioning immune system. Since, when the immune system tries to fight viruses and bacteria, an atypical immune response occurs that causes the immune system to attack the cells of the digestive tract.

There is a factor that must be taken into account when knowing whether or not you can suffer from this disease, which is the hereditary factor. It seems that it may have an impact, since inflammatory bowel disease is more common in people with a family history of this disease.

There are risk factors that must be taken into account:

  • Age: the vast majority of people who receive a diagnosis of IBD are before the age of 30, although there are some who do not develop it until they are 50 or 60.
  • Ethnic group: it is usually more common in white people, it can occur in any other race.
  • Family history: you are at greater risk of contracting this disease if a close family member suffers from it.
  • Smoking: is one of the most controllable risk factors for the development of Crohn’s disease.
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs: ibuprofen, naproxen, etc. They can increase your risk of developing IBD or make symptoms worse if you already have them.

Detection and Diagnosis of Inflammatory Bowel Disease

In order to confirm the diagnosis of IBD, a set of tests and procedures will have to be performed. The tests would be the following:

  • Tests to detect anemia or infection
  • Stool studies: detect hidden blood or parasites
  • Colonoscopy: to view the entire colon, using a thin, flexible tube with a light and a camera at the end
  • sigmoidoscopy : A thin, flexible, lighted tube is used to examine the rectum and sigmoid , the last part of the colon.
  • Upper endoscopy: The esophagus, stomach, and first part of the small intestine (duodenum) are examined. This area is not usually affected, but if there are symptoms such as nausea and vomiting, difficulty eating, and pain in the upper abdomen it will be an option to try.
  • Capsule endoscopy: helps diagnose Crohn’s disease. It is a capsule that you swallow, which contains a camera and you can see the entire journey and you end up expelling it when you go to the stomach.
  • Balloon-assisted enteroscopy : The small intestine is explored deeper, where standard endoscopes cannot reach. When capsule endoscopy flags abnormalities, this test can help determine what is happening.

The procedures that should be carried out are the following:

  • X-rays: if you suffer from severe symptoms, an x-ray will be performed in the abdominal area to rule out serious complications such as megacolon or perforated colon.
  • CT scan: This is a type of x-ray that gives more information than a standard tomography scan. You can see the entire intestine and the tissues on the outside of the intestine.
  • MRI: Creates detailed images of organs and tissues.

Treatment for Inflammatory Bowel Disease

The goal of treatment in inflammatory bowel disease is to reduce inflammation. Furthermore, in the best-case scenario, not only would symptoms be reduced but also long-term remission and reduced risk of complications. Said treatment is based on the administration of medications or surgery.

  • Inflammatory medications
  • Immune system inhibitors
  • Biological medicines
  • Antibiotics
  • Other medications or supplements: antidiarrheal medications, pain relievers, vitamins and supplements.
  • Nutritional support
  • Surgery: surgery for ulcerative colitis, surgery for Crohn’s disease

On the other hand, there are other options that have nothing to do with drugs and that may depend on you to improve the symptoms due to the disease, such as changes in diet and lifestyle.

Regarding diet, some suggestions for changes may be:

  • Reduce consumption of dairy products
  • Eat small portions of food
  • Drink much liquid
  • Take a multivitamin supplement
  • Consult a dietitian
  • Eliminate tobacco

And once again we talk about stress. There are patients who say that in seasons of high stress, the symptoms of the disease worsen. Therefore, it is ideal to try to lead a stress-free lifestyle or work towards having a much more relaxed life.

At Vitae we care about your health and that is why we try to offer the best of us, providing valuable ideas for your daily life. Many times, to achieve full well-being, supplementation is necessary, and below we tell you our proposal.

Vitae solution

OlioVita Gastro is a food supplement based on sea buckthorn oil and beta-glucans that contributes to the maintenance of the digestive mucous membranes and the immune system. Beta -glucans contribute to the proper functioning of the gastrointestinal tract, stimulating the activity of the microbiota , modulating the immune system against pathogens. While sea buckthorn oil confers moisturizing and nutritional properties to recover the intestinal mucosa in case of physiological alterations that cause inflammation and damage to the mucosa.

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