Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a group of conditions that affect the lining of the gastrointestinal tract, causing pain and discomfort for patients. It’s helpful to know how to soothe inflamed intestines.
What are the different types of IBD?
The two most common types of IBD are ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.
1. Ulcerative colitis
It primarily affects the large intestine and rectum, causing swelling, ulcers, and bleeding. The damage is continuous along the large intestine and rectum rather than occurring in patches.
2. Crohn’s disease
It can affect the digestive system from the mouth to the anus. Inflammation in Crohn’s disease usually occurs in patches on digestive organs like the stomach or intestines. Normal tissue surrounds the inflamed areas, resulting in patches of damage.
IBD symptoms: what are they?
According to doctors, IBD symptoms vary. They can start off subtly and build up to a full-blown crisis. A period is called remission when there is no complete absence of symptoms.
The general signs of irritable bowel syndrome are:
- A sharp pain or discomfort in the stomach.
- Diarrhea (occasionally alternating with constipation) or urgency to defecate (bowel urgency).
- Flatulence and bloating.
- Appetite loss and unexplained weight loss.
- Blood or mucus in the stool.
- Upset stomach.
How to manage your symptoms
Adjusting your diet is a significant step in managing the symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Foods such as fish, leafy green vegetables, and berries like blueberries, olives, and avocados provide anti-inflammatory benefits, but it’s essential to consider your entire diet to have the greatest impact on reversing colon inflammation and restoring healthy colon function. Here are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to calming inflamed intestines and managing IBD:
1. Be mindful of your diet
IBD affects the gastrointestinal tract, which means your diet can have a significant impact on IBD symptoms. Identifying which foods trigger your symptoms and limiting or avoiding their consumption is one of the most effective ways to manage IBD. For individuals with Crohn’s disease, consuming less fiber can be one method of symptom management. It’s also beneficial to consume fewer fatty foods, especially for those with fat malabsorption.
2. Reduce your levels of stress
Stress is linked to inflammation, and finding activities that help you relax, even for a few moments, can significantly benefit your overall health. Whether it’s through meditation, a bubble bath, a walk, yoga, or taking a few deep breaths, these practices can help you exit the fight-or-flight response, making it easier to manage functional gastrointestinal disorders.
According to new research published in Frontiers in Pediatrics in October 2019, stress can exacerbate digestive problems, and some Crohn’s disease patients may experience stress-related pain. One of the best ways to deal with stress is to engage in regular physical activity. Managing your stress and anxiety through exercise is the best way. The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation recommends low-impact or moderate aerobic exercise for people with Crohn’s disease.
Examples of low-impact exercises include yoga, brisk walking, and swimming.
4. Spend some time away from your desk
Stop your tight work schedule for some time. A consistent workload with no relaxation ultimately leads to an upset stomach. So, it’s best to focus on your well-being and stay away from stress. You should give your health your first priority.
5. Do not skip your regular medications
Never miss the medicines you use to manage IBD symptoms and flare-ups. Anti-inflammatory drugs, immune system suppressors, and biologics that target inflammation-causing proteins may be among your medications. Use your medicines at the right dosage. Adhering to your medication regimen can reduce symptoms and even cure IBD.
6. Include probiotics
Your gut microbes are crucial to your overall health. A diverse microbiome with plenty of beneficial bacteria can help maintain your body’s equilibrium. While the research on the benefits of probiotics for gut health is inconclusive, informal research suggests they can improve immune function. This may help with immune-related diseases like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s. Adding probiotics to your diet may help manage IBD.
How do you diagnose IBD?
IBD is diagnosed using a combination of clinical assessment and diagnostic testing. Your medical professional will prescribe tests like
- Colonoscopy: It is like a flexible tube with a camera. It examines the entire colon and rectum.
- Endoscopic ultrasound: This test involves inserting an ultrasound probe through the rectum to examine the intestinal wall and surrounding tissues.
- Flexible sigmoidoscopy: A flexible tube examines the lower colon and rectum.
- Imaging tests: CT, MRI, and X-rays can detect inflammation and abscesses.
- Upper endoscopy: A flexible tube examines the esophagus, stomach, and first part of the small intestine.
- Capsule endoscopy: This test involves swallowing a small capsule with a camera inside that takes pictures as it passes through the digestive tract.
Once a diagnosis of IBD has been confirmed, treatment options will depend on the severity and location of the inflammation. Medications such as corticosteroids, immunomodulators, biologics, and amino salicylates can help reduce inflammation and manage symptoms. Surgery may be required to remove damaged portions of the digestive tract in some cases.
Intestinal inflammation can cause a range of unpleasant health symptoms, such as persistent constipation, fatigue, and irregular periods. However, making some changes to your diet and lifestyle can help improve gut health and manage these symptoms. Consulting with a gastro doctor can help you learn more about intestinal inflammation and safe management techniques.
1. What is the healing duration of intestinal inflammation?
To cure intestinal inflammation, doctors often advise intravenous nutrition. It is used to settle the inflamed bowels within a few weeks. In some cases, patients have to choose surgery.
2. Is inflammation in the intestines a serious condition?
Intestinal inflammation is generally not a life-threatening condition. But you should still take it seriously, as some patients may develop serious health complications.
3. Is water helpful to relieve inflammation?
Water is generally safe to use as an anti-inflammatory agent. It is a good way to flush away harmful toxins from the body.