What You Should Know About Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis have common features, as well as some important differences. Ulcerative colitis tends to affect the bowel lining, and Crohn’s disease typically involves the entire bowel wall.

Symptoms can include:

  • Mild to severe diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain, nausea
  • Rectal bleeding, sometimes leading to anemia
  • Weight loss, dehydration and malnutrition
  • Fever and fatigue

What causes IBD?

The cause of IBD is unknown, though many factors may be involved, including diet, environment and genetics.

Evidence suggests a possible genetic defect that affects how the immune system is switched on and off in response to bacteria, a virus or certain food proteins.

Even with years of damage to the bowel, some IBD patients have no symptoms. When symptoms are present, they can mimic other disorders, making diagnosis challenging.

Direct visualization with upper and lower endoscopy procedures is the tool most commonly used for evaluating symptoms, though medical history and other tests are also vital to the diagnosis.

At Gastroenterology Associates, our team of physicians are all fellowship-trained specialists in digestive diseases who offer comprehensive testing and treatment for IBD.