Inflammatory Bowel Disease is a term that covers multiple disorders that involve chronic and sometimes progressive inflammation in the digestive tract. There are two common types of Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Crohns Disease and Ulcerative Colitis. Crohns Disease can cause inflammation in the entirety of the digestive tract, affecting the lining and often progressing to the deep tissue, while Ulcerative Colitis generally affects the large intestine and rectal area causing inflammation and ulcers to develop. Both of these conditions have no known cure but can be managed with diet and medical care from a certified Gastroenterologist like the doctors at Manhattan Gastroenterology.
If you are suffering from an Inflammatory Bowel Disease, it’s important to educate yourself on the health struggles you might experience. Listed below are a few of the most common symptoms of IBDs and some helpful tips for managing them.
Diarrhea is very common, not just in people suffering from IBDs, the average adult can expect to experience diarrhea once or twice per year. While it is not considered a serious health risk, it can be inconvenient and uncomfortable, to avoid triggering an episode watch what you eat. Avoid large doses of fiber, excessively spicy foods, and greasy or fried foods as much as possible and limit your caffeine intake to one cup or less a day. When you do find yourself dealing with diarrhea, make sure to drink lots of water and eat regularly to stave off dehydration and malnutrition, and consult your Doctor if it lasts more than a few days.
Cramping and Abdominal Pain
Abdominal pain and cramps are a common sign of an IBD flare up and should be taken note of. If the pain is mild and does not prevent you from eating or exercising it is considered mild and isn’t usually cause for concern, however, if the pain is bad enough to keep you in bed you should see a doctor right away. With Ulcerative Colitis the pain tends to be localized to the lower left quarter of the abdomen, while Crohns sufferers can experience pain anywhere along the digestive tract depending on where they are having a flare up.
Unintentional weight loss is a serious symptom of Inflammatory Bowel Disease and warrants a visit to your gastroenterologist. When a person with IBD is experience flair up, it can be difficult or even painful for them to eat enough food to properly sustain themselves and comes with the risk of malnutrition, a calorie dense diet might be prescribed and your medications will likely be adjusted to help with the symptoms. Rarely, weight loss may also be a symptom of complications with the disease and surgical intervention may be required.
Due to the strain that Crohns and Ulcerative Colitis put on the body, fatigue is a common side effect. It is considered a mild symptom unless you are having difficulties completing your day to day activities, which can be an indicator that you have a vitamin or iron deficiency. Visit your doctor for a blood test and they will prescribe supplements, vitamins, and anti inflammatory medication as necessary to restore your energy levels.