IBS and IBD – how are these two conditions different? Many people incorrectly assume both these conditions are the same. IBS stands for Irritable Bowel Syndrome and IBD stands for Inflammatory Bowel Disease. They are two distinct conditions with causes and symptoms that sometimes overlap. Determining which of the two conditions you have is important. Otherwise, you won’t be able to find treatments that will actually help you get relief.
Let’s talk about IBS and IBD to clear the confusion.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
IBS is a lower GI disorder, affecting the small and large intestines and colon. It is extremely common, affecting approximately 35 million Americans. It also goes by two other names: nervous indigestion or spastic colon.
Patients with IBS experience symptoms like gas, bloating, and constipation. They have a normal-looking gastrointestinal tract, however, it doesn’t function normally. The cause of the disease is not entirely known, but doctors say patients often have different triggers, such as certain foods or stress. Another possible cause is poorly coordinated signals between the brain and the gastrointestinal tract. IBS treatment can include a course of antibiotics to kill bacteria or medications to simply control symptoms.
IBS is a chronic disease and typically requires maintenance and lifestyle changes that involve avoiding triggers in order to ease symptoms. Another problem with IBS is that it may lead to other gastrointestinal complications such as GERD and indigestion.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
IBD is characterized by inflammation of the colon and small intestines. There are two most common types of IBD: ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. The former is believed to be caused by an autoimmune response that causes chronic inflammation in the digestive tract that causes pain, diarrhea, and rectal bleeding. The latter is another autoimmune inflammatory condition that causes inflammation not only in the digestive tract but also in the mouth and rectum. Researchers say it may be due to the immune system attacking harmless bacteria in the digestive tract.
Both types of IBD are lifelong conditions with periods of remission. Treatment includes making lifestyle and dietary changes as well as medication. Smoking and a high-fat diet is believed to exacerbate symptoms of IBD.
Diligent disease management through regular visits to your gastroenterologist is important since the frequent inflammatory response can damage your digestive tract and cause other complications. Patients with Crohn’s disease are more likely to develop colon cancer than those without.
IBS and IBD Treatment and Management in Austin, Texas
If you suspect you may have IBS or IBD, the skilled gastroenterologists at Austin Gastro can help you get a diagnosis and manage symptoms associated with your disease.
We treat the full range of common and complex gastrointestinal disorders, from upper GI disorders and lower GI disorders to inflammatory bowel diseases, using the most advanced procedures in use today. Our endoscopy centers are cutting-edge facilities.