Inflammatory bowel disease is an autoimmune disfunction that has genetic plus environmental components. It has been around for centuries and was once commonly fatal. It is a young person’s disease but can occur in older adults. The cause is unknown. It is not curable. The immune system reacts inappropriately to environmental triggers causing inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract.
There are two main types of IBD.
Ulcerative colitis attacks the colon and the rectum. It affects only the mucosa, the membrane lining the intestinal system and the inflamed tissue is continuous.
Crohn’s disease can strike any part of the GI tract from the mouth to the anus. It can affect all the layers of the intestinal wall. It frequently affects the end of the small intestine. Inflammation may occur in patches where there is an area of inflamed tissue next to 0an area with no disease.
Diagnosis is most commonly made between the ages of 17 and 35.
There are about 80,000 children (under age 20) in the US. It is about 5% of the IBD population. Children have a more severe course than adults. Growth can be affected.
Men and women are diagnosed equally. Women may have difficulty with pregnancy when their disease is active. Men are more likely than women to be diagnosed in their 50s and 60s.
Symptoms include diarrhea, abdominal pain, fatigue, weight loss and bloody stools. About a third also have arthritis.
Malnutrition can be a problem for a number of reasons including the intestinal system failing to absorb nutrients, failure to eat, side effects of drugs. Treatment today includes diet, drugs including the biologics, surgery, and supportive care.
After 30 years of disease about a third of those with ulcerative colitis will require surgery, removal of the colon and rectum. About 70% of those with Crohn’s disease will require surgery.
IBD is common in those with RA. It is more common in those with fibromyalgia, psoriatic arthritis, and osteoarthritis. RA, IBD and psoriatic arthritis are autoimmune disorders.
The following is a website that includes information on helping children with IBD:
Homepage | Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation (crohnscolitisfoundation.org)
Many states including Colorado and Texas have passed a restroom access law or Ally’s Law. This law allows those with a medical condition (IBD) to access the employee bathroom when a customer restroom is not available.
Crohn’s and colitis
Crohn’s Disease & Ulcerative Colitis Information (crohnsandcolitis.com)
Restroom Request Card for Crohn’s Disease & Ulcerative Colitis (crohnsandcolitis.com)
Sitorsquat app developed by Charmin to help you locate the nearest restroom.
Restroom Near Me | Sit or Squat (charmin.com)
What IBD is not:
IBD is not irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) which is a collection of GI symptoms not caused by inflammation. It is not Celiac’s disease, an autoimmune disease, which is caused by an inflammatory response to gluten in the diet.