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Inflammatory Bowel Disease: How it Affects Your GI Tract

Could IBD be causing your diarrhea or abdominal pain?

When you’re dealing with a slew of gastrointestinal issues our La Grange, Elmhurst and Berwyn, IL, board-certified surgeons may want to rule out the possibility of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). This condition is more common than you might realize and can wreak havoc on your digestive tract if you don’t know how to manage flare-ups. Here’s what you need to know,

What is inflammatory bowel disease?

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) encompasses a group of gastrointestinal conditions, most notably ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, that leads to inflammation of the digestive tract. IBD can be life-altering, impacting everyday activities and negatively impacting a person’s quality of life. When people are dealing with rectal bleeding, constipation and diarrhea, or bloating, they often turn to our La Grange, Elmhurst and Berwyn, IL, board-certified surgeons for an evaluation.

What are the warning signs?

The most common symptom of IBD is loose, watery stools or diarrhea. Crohn’s, more specifically, prevents the gut from properly absorbing food, which can result in less water absorption and cause the food to pass quickly through the gut. If there are ulcers in the colon, there may also be blood in the stool, which can certainly be frightening for anyone who has just started to experience symptoms. If you are noticing blood in your stool it’s important that you call our La Grange, Elmhurst and Berwyn, IL, board-certified surgeons right away to schedule an evaluation.

Other signs and symptoms of an IBD include,

  • Abdominal pain and cramping
  • Mild fever
  • Fissures (more common in those with Crohn’s disease)
  • Anemia
  • Unexpected weight loss (or trouble putting weight on)

Those with IBD may also be at an increased risk for arthritis, skin problems, liver disease and inflammation of the eye.

How is IBD treated?

Inflammatory bowel disease is not curable, but it is manageable with the proper medications and lifestyle. We can sit down with you to discuss treatment options and to map out a plan based on the condition you have, the severity of your symptoms and other lifestyle and health factors. Common treatment options include,

  • Modifying your diet to make sure that you are getting the nutrients your body needs
  • Supplementation to ensure that your body is getting the proper nutrient
  • Finding outlets to better manage stress (e.g. meditation; exercise)
  • Taking anti-inflammatory drugs to manage flare-ups and lengthen remission
  • Taking a corticosteroid to address more severe forms of inflammation

In some instances, surgery may be necessary. It is possible to cure some cases of ulcerative colitis with surgery since the condition only impacts the colon. Surgery is used to remove the colon to prevent this disease from returning. Surgery will not cure Crohn’s disease but may improve symptoms. It’s important to speak with our surgeons about your surgical goals to see if this is the best option for treating your IBD.

If you are concerned that you might have inflammatory bowel disease or if you’d like to sit down with our La Grange, Elmhurst and Berwyn, IL, board-certified surgeons to discuss treatment options including surgical solutions, call Suburban Surgical Associates/Suburban Metabolic Institute today at (708) 484-0621.

Please call our office number (708)484-0621 for all questions and appointment requests.