Inflammatory Bowel Diseases

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FAQ's For Inflammatory Bowel Diseases

Common signs include:
Blood in the stool
Abdominal pain
Abdominal cramping
Reduced appetite
Weight loss

Though IBD is not yet curable, herbal medicines and supplements like calcium, vitamin D and iron can ease symptoms.

IBD is caused by a weakened immune system.

IBD can be triggered by a weak immune system or hereditary.

Certain herbal medications can help reduce inflammation and ease symptoms. Common remedies include probiotics, aloe vera, wheatgrass juice, plantago ovata seeds, and boswellia serrata gum resin.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease or IBD is an umbrella terms often used to describe a plethora of chronic diseases which inflame the digestive tract. Some common types of IBD include Crohn’s disease (an inflammation of the small intestine which can spread to other parts of the digestive tract) and ulcerative colitis (a condition which causes sores and inflammation in the inner lining of the large intestine and rectum).

Inflammatory bowel disease symptoms depend on the severity and location of inflammation. Common signs include:
Blood in the stool
Abdominal pain
Abdominal cramping
Reduced appetite
Weight loss

Although exact inflammatory bowel disease causes remain unknown, but many researchers believe it stems from an immune system malfunction. On sensing the threat of an infection from a virus or bacteria, the digestive tract can experience inflammation. IBD can also have genetic links, as it is seen more commonly in patients whose family members also have the illness.

IBD can cause life-threatening conditions if left untreated. Common complications of ulcerative colitis include skin, joint or eye inflammation, colon cancer, primary sclerosing cholangitis (scarring in the bile ducts causing liver damage) and blood clots. Common complications of Crohn’s disease include ulcers, malnutrition, bowel obstruction, anal fissures and fistula.

Diagnosis of inflammatory bowel disease begins with a medical professional one or more of the following tests:
• Blood tests (for anaemia or infection, as well as a faecal occult blood test)
• Endoscopic procedures (colonoscopy, upper endoscopy, capsule endoscopy, flexible sigmoidoscopy, and balloon-assisted enteroscopy)
• Imaging procedures (X-Ray, MRI or CT scan)

The objective of inflammatory bowel disease treatment is to reduce inflammation of the digestive tract. If all goes well, it can lead to remission of IBD symptoms and lower the risk of complications. This can be done by the following methods:
• Anti-inflammatory drugs including corticosteroids and aminosalicylates, such as mesalamine (Asacol HD, Delzicol, others), balsalazide (Colazal) and olsalazine (Dipentum)
• Immune system suppressors like azathioprine (Azasan, Imuran), mercaptopurine (Purinethol, Purixan), cyclosporine (Gengraf, Neoral, Sandimmune) and methotrexate (Trexall).
• Antobiotics like ciprofloxacin (Cipro) and metronidazole (Flagyl)

Other supplements and medicine for inflammatory bowel disease include:
Anti-diarrhoeal medication
Calcium and vitamin D

An inflammatory bowel disease diet involves the following changes:
Avoid problem foods like alcohol, caffeine and spicy foods.
Be wary of high-fiber foods like raw fruits and vegetables, and whole grains
Try low-fat foods instead of foods containing butter, margarine and fried items
Limit dairy products

HerbsDaily offers a wide selection of herbal supplements effective in coping with the symptoms of IBD.