Do You Have the Guts to be #IBDAware?
As the holiday season rolls in, it is important to remember digestive health! In 2011, Congress recognized and declared December 1-7th as Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Week. In the United States, Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis affects a combined 1,400,000 Americans.
What is IBD, also known as, Inflammatory Bowel Disease?
- IBD is chronic inflammation of part or all of your digestive tract. The primary conditions are Ulcerative Colitis (UC) and Crohn’s disease (CD)
- Similar symptoms between the two include, diarrhea, abdominal cramps and/or pain, blood in stool, fever, and fatigue
- Also, unintended weight loss can occur because food is unable to be digested and absorbed which leads to malnourishment
What is the Crohn’s disease?
Crohn’s disease most commonly affects the end of the small bowel and the beginning of the colon
- It could unfortunately affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract, all the way from the mouth to the anus
- CD often affects the entire thickness of the bowel wall
There are several risk factors including, but not limited to:
- Previous use of Accutane, a medication used to treat acne
- Urban location resulting in poor diet/exercise
- Cigarette smoking which worsens CD but might have some protective benefits in UC
What is Ulcerative Colitis?
Ulcerative Colitis occurs only in the large intestine also known as the colon
- Lining becomes inflamed and ulcers develop, which can cause discomfort and pain
- UC only affects the lining of the colon
UC patients often experience mild symptoms.
- There are long periods called remission, where patients experience very little symptomatic UC
- Whereas, there are also flare-ups which makes developing a treatment course difficult for physicians
Risk factors include age, race/ethnicity, family history, and also previous use of Accutane, a medication used to treat acne.