About 1.6 million Americans have inflammatory bowel disease – about 780,000 people with Crohn’s disease and another 907,000 with ulcerative colitis
Diet does not cause or cure IBD – it can play a role in symptom flares, but does not affect the underlying inflammation
Inflammatory bowel diseases are believed to be in the autoimmune family – simply stated, this means the immune system is attacking itself. Other conditions in this family include rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and multiple sclerosis.
IBD can affect any part of the digestive tract – not just the colon
Fatigue is the second most common symptom of IBD – second to urgency
Colectomy surgery involves the removal of part or all of the large intestine; a proctocolectomy is the removal of the large intestine, the rectum and the anus and requires an ileostomy
“Trigger foods” are different for everyone – some people with IBD are triggered by vegetables, some by greasy food, some by dairy, and some can’t always identify their trigger
Microscopic colitis, such as collagenous or lymphocytic, is categorized by inflammation of the large intestine that can only be seen under a microscope
Generally, women with IBD are just as able to become pregnant as those without IBD – the likelihood and success of the pregnancy is increased when in remission vs in a flare
A gastroenterologist is typically the specialist that treats and manages inflammatory bowel disease
A colonoscopy is a procedure to examine the rectum and entire colon using a camera attached to a thin flexible tube called an endoscope
There are many types of medications to help treat IBD – those categories include aminosalicylates, corticosteroids, immunomodulators and biologics
Stress does not cause IBD – but it can trigger flares for some people
Behçet’s disease, another in the IBD family, is a rare autoimmune disease that causes inflammation of the blood vessels.
There is no one test to diagnose IBD – diagnosis typically requires a combination of blood, stool and imaging tests, as well as endoscopy procedures
IBD is not the same as IBS – IBD involves chronic underlying inflammation of the digestive tract; irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a functional gastrointestinal disorder and does not cause intestinal damage
There is not yet a cure for IBD – which is why increasing awareness is crucial!
You’re NOT alone! It can certainly feel like you’re alone in your management of IBD, especially when friends and family do not fully understand what you’re going through, but it’s important to know that you are NEVER alone! There are over 1.6 million others who get it, many of whom are a part of our community!