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What exactly is Inflammatory Bowel Disease and its symptoms?

What exactly is Inflammatory Bowel Disease? 

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), also known as Crohn’s disease or Ulcerative Colitis, is a disease of the gastrointestinal tract. People with Ulcerative Colitis are only affected in the colon (large intestine), while people with Crohn’s disease can be affected in the small intestines or the ileum.

There are many other forms of IBD such as, proctitis, enteritis, or ileitis, but Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis are the most widespread.

In these most widespread forms, the affected areas become inflamed, and sometimes ulceration occurs in the affected areas.

When the disease is in its active stage, an inflammation occurs which is commonly referred to as a “flare-up.”

During an acute inflammation, there occurs what you would expect with any inflammation: swelling, heat, sensitivity to touch, and a lot of pain.

When the inflammation continues without stopping, and one or more parts of the intestine are inflamed, much pain is caused along with other problems that will be discussed.

Chronic inflammation is a more serious stage that can result in distortion and sometimes destruction of tissues often leading to permanent scarring.

Cure or Remission? 

Both Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative Colitis are chronic illnesses according to medical thinking, meaning you will always have them even when they’re in remission (inactive).

I believe you can be completely cured forever from IBD and all disease if you live a healthy lifestyle and eat a diet that is more natural.

Many people suffering from IBD continue to listen to their doctor regardless of the results of the natural cure. With anger people have told me there is no cure, just remission. To one degree they are correct. Even tough I call it a natural cure, if you eat a poor diet and live an unhealthy lifestyle it can comeback.

We all have inherited weaknesses  and for people with IBD that is what they will suffer from if not living and eating healthy.

Here is a video I made about the Cure vs. Remission topic

What exactly do you mean by inflamed bowel?

Whenever inflammation is involved, regardless of where in the body it occurs, the tissue has become inflamed. If the tissue is close to the surface of the body, it can be seen, as in the case of a sprained ankle or some other type of bruise, but if it’s deep inside the body, it can still become very inflamed even though you can’t see it.

An inflamed bowel is similar to any inflamed tissue. A sprain or swollen part of the body such as a bump on the head will hurt when it’s touched. An inner swelling, such as arthritis, hurts when the joints are moved.

The bowel is a “tube” deep within the body with a strong outer muscled wall. Inflammation makes its central opening smaller. The open canal of a swollen small intestine can shrink to about an eighth of an inch in diameter, the width of a small drinking straw.

Swollen body parts are very tender and need rest. When we sprain an ankle, we rest it until it is healed, or the swelling has gone down. Well, when the inside of the body is swollen, we have to try to do the same thing — leave it alone until it is better.

When an inflamed intestine is called upon to digest food, it hurts. It becomes very painful, and just as if we were to walk with a sprained ankle, we would slow the healing down and make it worse.

Once the inflammation goes away, can there still be any damage left behind?

Once the inflammation goes down, or heals, the bowel can return to normal. But when it does, in some cases, deformed scar tissue may remain as a result of the inflammation. This is known as a stricture. It’s similar to the deformed scar tissue in an arthritic joint, or the scar tissue left from a serious cut. In the small intestine, the scar tissue can circle the intestine for a short distance in each direction, or it can cover an entire area along the intestine.

According to the medical world, a stricture causes trouble because it’s an unyielding area in an otherwise homogeneous and smooth organ that creates waves in peristaltic motion. Because it’s not as flexible, a stricture can’t move with the surrounding tissue, so it “pulls” when the intestine moves. Partially digested food can become stuck in a stricture leading to a blockage that can be painful. According to medical doctors, in severe cases, hospitalization may be required to clear the obstruction.

I have to admit once the body is damaged to the point and has left a scar, depending on the type of scar and situation, medical intervention may be helpful in keeping the area clean such as in cases of a stricture, however I believe a person will have an easier time avoided scaring if they used a more natural approach in a timely matter.

In addition, once a person has been confirmed to have a stricture, a healthy diet and lifestyle would still be the best approach to limit any possible issues.

This would be a program including colonics, enemas, healthy supplements, and a healthy approach to eating, such as food combining and chewing our food well, and not eating while stressed.

When a stricture is present, hard pieces of food, such as bits of nuts, fruit seeds, or even coarse, undigested bran from cereal, can be irritating.

A healthy approach to dealing with this issue should avoid these problems. I don’t rule out going to a hospital if desperately needed, but that should always be a last resort, instead of the common first resort. The simple program found in this book can help many symptoms and complications of IBD.

Okay, now I know Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis are very similar inflammatory diseases, but what are their differences?

There are many similarities between Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative Colitis (UC). Here are the most common differences: Ulcerative Colitis occurs only in the colon (large intestine) with ulcers, open sores, and inflammation. UC sufferers usually have bloody, watery stools with mucus during a flare-up attack. UC can involve different parts of the large intestine, or it can involve the entire organ. Crohn’s disease can affect the small intestines or the ileum, characterized by inflammation that spreads deep into the bowel wall.

Because they are so similar, they are often misdiagnosed for the other. Then there are cases like mine where I suffered in both areas so they just said I most likely have both.

Another thing that makes them very similar is that there is no known medical cure for either one, unless you consider cutting out the colon as a cure. In that case, there is a cure for UC, but still not for Crohn’s. Even so, I don’t consider this a cure and wouldn’t suggest it. This would be like saying there is a cure of colon cancer — cut out the colon, and you can’t get cancer.

Is there a difference between Colitis and Ulcerative Colitis?

There is a difference between Colitis and Ulcerative Colitis. Just as the name states, plain Colitis doesn’t involve ulcerations and seems to be confined more to the upper part of the large intestine. Ulcerative Colitis is a more advanced stage of disease, as you can imagine. Whenever there is ulceration, there is usually blood, and when blood is coming out of the body,it is very serious.

Is Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) the same thing as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)?

IBD stands for Inflammatory Bowel Disease and it is different than IBD, which stands for Irritable Bowel Syndrome. They are not the same thing but both illnesses affect the bowel. IBS is not as serious as IBD, but if not treated, will many times lead to IBD.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a “syndrome,” meaning a group of symptoms. The most common symptoms of IBS are abdominal pain or discomfort often reported as cramping, bloating, gas, diarrhea, and/or constipation. IBS affects the colon or large bowel, which is the part of the digestive tract that stores stool. Many times the medical field will misdiagnose IBS and IBD because some of the symptoms can be the same.

What are the common symptoms of IBD a person will suffer during an acute stage or an “IBD attack”?

Some common symptoms of IBD that you might experience are pain, poor appetite, flatulence, nausea, diarrhea, and mucus and blood in the stool. Those are the signs you’ll notice on your own, telling you something is wrong, and there is a chance it might be some form of IBD. There are many other diseases that have the same symptoms as IBD, so if you experience any of these signs, it’s just an indication that it could be IBD among other things. Your doctor can perform tests and observe several signs other than how you feel to determine if it’s really IBD or something else.

Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis may have similar symptoms, but may also have different symptons. The most common sign of UC is bloody diarrhea. It’s also possible to have bleeding without diarrhea, and some people even have bleeding with constipation; most of the time though, it’s bloody diarrhea. There are other common signs of UC such as a consistent urge to have to go to the bathroom. Many times you get the feeling that you have to go to the bathroom, but, when you go, nothing comes out. Sometimes just some gas will come out, or a little blood. Sometimes there is only a very small amount of stool and no blood, but when you wipe, you’ll see blood on the toilet paper.

With all the false urges and real bowel movements, the number of times you go to the bathroom in one day can get all the way up to twenty. A good indication of the seriousness of the flare-up is how many trips a person with UC takes to the bathroom each day. More trips indicate a more serious flare-up.

The signs for Crohn’s Disease are very similar to those for UC, and both are often misdiagnosed as the other. With Crohn’s, the symptoms can affect the small intestine or the ileum (whereas with UC, it’s the large intestine that is affected). The pain is most often felt around the navel and/or lower right part of the abdomen and is often associated with eating. It can begin during a meal, soon after, or within an hour or so afterwards. A steady, dull ache in the lower right abdomen may also be felt. It usually becomes somewhat worse with activity, especially anything that jiggles the abdomen, such as jogging. Crohn’s patients often suffer from fatigue and poor appetite just as UC sufferers.

If I have the symptoms you’ve mentioned, does that mean I have IBD?

It may, but maybe not. There are many other medical conditions that have similar signs but can be something else. A good doctor, if you can find one, hopefully, will be able to diagnose you correctly. It is common for many people to get diagnosed for another condition before the doctor finally realizes that it’s IBD. Conditions that can mimic IBD include food poisoning, traveler’s diarrhea, antibiotic use, Irritable Bowel Syndrome and parasites can also resemble IBD.

Certain foods can cause diarrhea such as those containing lactose (especially if you’re lactose intolerant), as can beverages containing caffeine. Drugs, including antibiotics and over-the-counter drugs, can cause chronic diarrhea. Cancer patients get diarrhea from the radiation treatments.

Other than the common signs, how do I really know if I have IBD?

Other than the many clear symptoms and signs used to find out if a person might have IBD, or other digestive tract problems, the doctor will perform a series of tests to determine if it’s IBD or not. The doctor will examine the patient with an endoscope. During the examination of the  rectum, the doctor will usually take a biopsy (tissue sample) to confirm the diagnosis. The doctor may also arrange to have the stools sent to a lab to check for infectious diseases that mimic IBD. Usually, a patient suspected of having IBD will undergo a diagnostic procedure called a sigmoidoscopy which involves passing an instrument (a sigmoidoscope) through the anus into the rectum, and then into the sigmoid colon. This procedure allows the physician to view the mucosa (inner lining) of the bowel. I’ve had many of these tests performed over the years. My doctor mainly used it to determine the amount of drugs she would give me to control my illness. This is a procedure that can be done in the doctor’s office. No hospital visit is required.

A colonoscopy is another diagnostic procedure in which the doctor examines the large colon even deeper than a sigmoidoscope. It can be used to diagnose UC, but not Crohn’s disease. This procedure will determine how much of the colon is inflamed. During the procedure for some patients, the end of the ileum can also be examined. A colonoscopy can be used to check for colon cancer as well. The procedure is usually done at the hospital, but no overnight visit is necessary.

Crohn’s disease is diagnosed with x-rays or other means, but not a colonoscopy. This is because most cases of Crohn’s disease occur in the ileum, or the ileum and the right side of the colon, and these are areas a colonoscopy won’t reach.

It is neither practical nor possible to do a colonoscopy on every person suspected of having the disease. But someone with chronic diarrhea will very likely have a sigmoidoscopy as part of the investigation. In certain cases, when x-rays don’t find it, a colonoscopy is used.

Is it necessary to take a sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy?

A person has different options of how to approach their health challenge. Most people are not aware that there are more ways to deal with IBD than drugs, but it is becoming more popular knowledge. A good way to decide about those options is to receive a valid diagnosis. A colonoscopy can be helpful in some situations, but very seldom do I think we need them and people get them much too often. I didn’t know any better when I was suffering from IBD, but now I would only consider it as a last resort. I do not believe a sigmoidoscopy is needed because it doesn’t show the entire colon. Much of the damage can easily be missed and the main reason they use it is to decide how much drugs they are going to give the patient.

In my opinion the best answer for IBD and all diseases in not drug therapy. This is one reason I made this site. If any doctor told you or tells you that you need to get a sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy please study this site very carefully before doing anything.

Why have I never heard of IBD before? Is it a new disease?

You’ve never heard of IBD before most likely because it affects the colon. Many people are embarrassed to talk about IBD, but it’s not a new disease. Both Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis are very common in today’s world and have been around for a long time.

Many studies have been done to estimate the frequency of IBD. As of 2004 about 120,000 people in the United States were diagnosed annually with IBD. Now it’s about 500,000 people a year and the numbers are quickly on the rise. The number is most likely higher than that. The majority of cases might not even be recorded, and there is also misdiagnosis.

Both of these diseases appeared in isolated cases several centuries ago, but didn’t attract medical interest until the last half of the 19th century.Ulcerative Colitis was first described and named in 1875 and Crohn’s Disease in 1913. It’s only in the last ten to fifteen years that people began to talk about them openly as they do with other diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and even cancer. In the past, not many people felt comfortable talking about diarrhea, bloody bowel movements, or the need for frequent, urgent trips to the bathroom. Because so many people still feel uncomfortable talking about IBD, they probably don’t visit the doctor to get diagnosed, but their IBD still exists. It’s likely that more people suffer from some form of IBD than most other diseases in the world combined.

Who Gets IBD?

My doctor says studies suggest only certain people usually get IBD. Is that true?

Yes, that is correct. People who are sick haven’t treated their bodies with healthful choices, and IBD can be the result. These people have neither eaten healthfully, nor have they lived a healthy lifestyle. In fact, given the way people eat today, it’s very likely nearly everyone eating the common diet will get some form of IBD at some point. There are some studies that show how IBD affects different peoples in different parts of the world. It’s more prevalent in some parts of the world and more present in certain cultures than in others, but everyone with an unhealthy diet can get it.

There are also studies documenting that there are more cases of IBD in developed countries than in underdeveloped countries. If the people running these studies and the medical community were to understand the connection between diet and IBD, they would realize that eating richer (processed) foods and having the money to overeat are the cause. But instead, they try to justify it by saying poorer people are less likely to seek treatment for disease. That doesn’t make sense; people aren’t suffering from IBD because they haven’t sought medical treatment.

Can anyone at any age get IBD?

IBD can start at any age, but usually begins in the late teens or early adulthood; less often in middle age. At least that’s when the disease becomes such a problem for people that they can no longer live with it and go to the doctor. It usually starts at a much younger age. Many wise teachers of health believe all diseases start in the colon, and the first disease everyone will get is some form of IBS or IBD. It’s usually constipation that people get at a very young age. Given the way people eat today, most people in the civilized world are likely to develop some form of IBS or IBD at some point, unless there are dramatic dietary improvements.

What about young children? How common is it for them to get diagnosed with IBD?

About 20 percent of adults with IBD exhibited symptoms before age 15. This is changing fast. With the terrible diets kids have today and the misinformation parents have about health, more kids are experiencing signs of IBD and IBS; and more kids are getting diagnosed with IBD. The disease is still rarely diagnosed in children before age 10 unless another family member has it. Most diseases start slowly and build up over the years; and most kids are not tested at such a young age because the signs aren’t always as severe as when they grow older, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have IBD. A major sign is when very young children are not developing at the same rate as other children their age. It is essential for children to receive adequate nutrition, so that their growth and development are not stunted.

 

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Is Inflammatory Bowel Disease a serious disease?

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