Diagnosis and treatment of bowel disease (IDB)
Long-term diarrhea, blood in faeces and abdominal pain may be symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease. Most often, the disease can be treated without surgery.
What is inflammatory bowel disease?
Inflammatory bowel disease is a persistent inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract. Inflammatory bowel diseases are commonly referred to as IBD, which is called Inflammatory Bowel Disease.
IBD covers two different diseases: ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease.
Ulcerative colitis occurs in inflammation of the colon and rectal area. Crohn's disease may occur in any gastrointestinal tract, most commonly in the small intestine or colon, sometimes in both
What is the age at which the disease is diagnosed?
Typically, IBD is diagnosed in the age group of 20 to 30, but a person may get ill at any age. These diseases have increased in recent decades.
How to recognize Crohn's disease?
The most common symptom is diarrhea, which may be bloody. Sometimes there are abdominal pains, also fever and weight loss are possible.
There is, however, not always blood in the feces, and the suspicion of Crohn's disease may arise, for example, as symptoms of prolonged, several weeks or even months of abdominal disturbance.
The diagnosis is usually made by endoscopy of the colon, where it can be seen mucosal lesions typical of the disease. At the same time, a few millimeters of test pieces are taken from the mucous membranes, which often finally ensure the diagnosis.
What are the typical symptoms ulcerative colitis?
Typical symptom is bloody diarrhea. If inflammation is severe, abdominal pain may occur. Ulcerative colitis is also diagnosed with endoscopy of the colon and tissue sample.
Both ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease are often associated with frequent need to go to the toilet. The symptom can be so difficult that it makes it difficult to survive in working life and disturb the leisure time.
How is endoscopy done?
The doctor uses specialized instruments to view and operate on the internal organs and vessels of your body and endoscopy is done by inserting thin and flexible endoscope from rectum to colon. This procedure is called sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy depending on how far up the colon is examined. The usual length of examination is about half an hour.
During the observation, some gas is inserted into the intestine, which, together with the stretching caused by the endoscope, can cause transient pain.
The examination is quite safe for the patient, and it is possible to get medication for the pain and possible tension caused by the examination.
What causes the disease?
The cause of the disease is unknown so far. It is known that genetic factors have an effect on the risk of illness. If both parents have IBD, the child's risk of illness is 30-50 percent. If only the other parent has IBD, the child's risk of illness is 10-20 percent.
In addition to hereditary factors, the onset of inflammatory bowel disease is affected by the environment. It is not known exactly what the environmental factors affecting the outbreak of IBD, but the increased risk of illness is related to the Western lifestyle. Many patients have experienced that certain foods increase intestinal symptoms, but the cause of IBD has not been found in food.
Can you do something by yourself?
The most important thing for Crohn's disease is to stop smoking. Smokers have a higher risk of contracting Crohn's disease, and the disease that has already contracted is usually more difficult than others. Healthy lifestyles generally help: for example, stress can exacerbate bowel symptoms.
Are IBD diseases infectious?
How are inflammatory bowel diseases treated?
Primary treatment is medication. In the activation phase of the disease, cortisone therapy is usually initiated, which usually relieves the inflammation.
Cortisone therapy is usually compensated with other medicines because long-term cortisone therapy involves many side effects. For example, cortisone therapy may predispose to osteoporosis. After cortisone treatment, inflammation is to be prevented with a long-term drug treatment.
When is surgery required?
Surgery is needed when drug therapy is not effective enough or drug-related harm is considered too high.
In the past, about a third of patients treated with ulcerative colitis had at some point a colon removal surgery, colectomy. Nowadays, these surgeries are made less, which may be due to the use of more effective medicines than before.
Will the diseases increase cancer risk?
Long-term ulcerative colitis involves a greater risk of colon cancer. The risk is greater if the entire colon has become inflamed. Risk is also stressed if drug therapy is ineffective.
The elevated risk of cancer of the colon may be subject surgical procedure to remove all or part of the colon. Risk of cancer of the colon is individually assessed on the basis of endoscopy findings. Crohn's disease in the colon also has an increased risk of colon cancer.
Can the diseases be healed completely?
Diseases typically require long-term medication and the key is to achieve a good balance of treatment. Sometimes medication can be abandoned altogether, but at that time, patients are often monitored regularly by endoscopy and taking laboratory tests.