Inflammatory bowel disease, sometimes referred to as IBD, is a group of disorders that cause chronic inflammation of parts of the digestive tract. Both Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are forms of IBD. Symptoms can include severe diarrhea, abdominal pain, weight loss, anemia, and fatigue. IBD treatment will vary depending upon which condition is diagnosed.
Ulcerative colitis affects the inner lining of the large intestine (the colon), causing the tissues to become inflamed, leading to sores or ulcers. These ulcers tend to be long-lasting and may cause significant symptoms.
Crohn’s Disease is deep inflammation in all or some parts of the digestive tract, often spreading deeper into the layers of affected tissue. The most common areas affected in patients with Crohn’s disease are the colon and the last section of the small intestine, but other areas can be affected.
What Causes IBD?
One possible cause of IBD is an immune system malfunction. The role of the immune system is to attack viruses, bacteria and other foreign organisms to protect the body. But when your immune system malfunctions, it attacks foreign organisms and the healthy cells in your digestive tract. This causes inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, which leads to painful symptoms such as persistent diarrhea, nausea and more.
Scientists have listed a few risk factors of IBD to help you prevent it or get early diagnosis and treatment.
What are the Risk Factors for Developing IBD?
About 2 million people in the U.S. have IBD, according to the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America. It pays to know that IBD’s risk factors include:
- Age. In most cases, the disease starts to develop before the age of 35.
- Family history. Individuals with a parent or sibling with IBD are at a much higher risk of developing the disease.
- Environment. IBD is common among people who live in industrialized countries and urban areas, where people tend to eat more fat and processed food than organic meals.
- Ethnicity. IBD is present in all populations, but certain ethnic groups such as Ashkenazi Jews and Caucasians have a higher risk.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Ibuprofen, naproxen sodium and other NSAIDs may increase the risk of developing IBD or worsen the symptoms of IBD.
Request an Appointment Today
If you suspect you have IBD or are at risk of developing it, come to our Sandy or Lehi office. Our board-certified gastroenterologists provide evaluations, testing and treatment for IBD. Contact us for an appointment.