Young woman with stomach ache sitting on bed

Management Alternatives for Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Nothing will be more uncomfortable for you and your loved ones like a gastrointestinal disease. This, in most cases, is characterized by nausea, vomiting, abdominal pains, cramps, reduced appetite and diarrhea or constipation.

Inflammatory bowel disease {IBD} is nowadays among the leading causes of gastrointestinal symptoms. This is an umbrella term describing chronic conditions that cause inflammation along your digestive tract. Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease are common forms of IBD.

Both conditions are characterized by weight loss, unexplained fatigue and severe diarrhea. Prompt ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease treatment by a Lehi-based GI specialist is essential since the conditions can lead to life-threatening complications.

The common complications include blood clots, skin, joint and eye inflammation, malnutrition, colon cancer and primary sclerosing cholangitis. The management of IBD starts with a precise diagnosis done by fecal occult blood tests, full hemograms and endoscopic and imaging procedures.

The following are the management alternatives for IBD.

Anti-Inflammatory Drugs

Since the inflammation of your intestines characterizes IBD, the first step of management is reducing this inflammation. You can achieve this through the use of anti-inflammatory medication like aminosalicylates and corticosteroids.

The common drugs used include mesalamine, hydrocortisone, balsalazide and olsalazine. The medication prescribed for your condition will primarily depend on the part of your colon that is affected.

Immune System Suppressors

Immune system malfunctions are the leading risk factors for the development of IBD. The use of immune system suppressors is meant to negate the responses of your immune system that trigger the release of inflammation-inducing chemicals into your intestinal lining.

The conventional immunosuppressants used in this case include cyclosporine, methotrexate, mercaptopurine and azathioprine. TNF (tumor necrosis factor)-alpha inhibitors are also commonly used for immune suppression in IBD. These drugs neutralize the production of specific proteins by your immune system.

Antibiotics

doctor prescribing an antibiotic to her patient

These are used in cases where there is a risk of bacterial infection, mostly in Crohn’s disease affecting the peri-anal area. The frequently used medications, in this case, include metronidazole and ciprofloxacin. The doctor can also prescribe anti-diarrheal medicines and pain relievers, as well iron, vitamin D and calcium supplements, depending on the specifics of your IBD.

Surgery

This is only used for cases of IBD that have not responded to conservative management alternatives. The surgical procedure commonly used for ulcerative colitis management is an ileal pouch-anal anastomosis. Here, the colon will be removed before the surgeon attaches your small intestines directly to the anus for waste expulsion.

This negates the need for using a colostomy bag for waste collection. While surgery often cures ulcerative colitis, it does not do so for Crohn’s disease. Here, the surgeon removes your colon’s damaged portions then reconnects the healthy ones.

The procedure is generally used for draining intestinal abscesses and closing fistulas. You will nonetheless be put on medications after the surgery to minimize the chances of recurrence of Crohn’s disease on the reconnected tissues.

The above management alternatives are all used in combination with nutritional support and lifestyle modification. The specialist might, for instance, recommend a limiting of dairy products, fiber and high-fat foods since these worsen your symptoms.

You should also take lots of fluids, eat small meal portions, cease smoking and adopt healthy ways of stress management.