What Are Inflammatory Bowel Diseases

Inflammatory bowel diseases cause inflammation of the intestines, resulting in frequent episodes of diarrhea accompanied by abdominal pain and cramping.

Crohn’s disease is a common inflammatory bowel disease affecting most parts of the digestive tract. Ulcerative Colitis is another inflammatory bowel disease similar to it, often making it difficult to differentiate between the two. However, ulcerative colitis is restricted to the large intestine. The reasons for inflammatory bowel diseases are not clearly understood but they are generally believed to be resulting from the overreaction of body’s immune system. A genetic factor also is suspected to be at play as many people who have these conditions are found to be having relatives with the same condition. There are a few other inflammatory conditions also, such as diversion colitits, lymphocytic colitis and collagenous colitis.

Inflammatory bowel diseases are diagnosed after extensive investigative tests to rule out other conditions which may result in the inflammation of the intestines such as bacterial infections and parasitic infestations. The tests include microscopic examination of stool to detect the presence of worms or other parasites. If the patient has undergone antibiotic therapy recently, it can result in an infection of the bacteria Closridium difficile which multiply in the intestines when other beneficial bacteria are destroyed by the action of the antibiotics. Gonorrhea and other sexually transmitted diseases such as chlamydial infection and herpes virus infection affecting the rectum are also investigated.

A viewing test called sigmoidoscopy is usually done to examine the colon. Biopsy of a tissue sample is done to detect any other possible causes of inflammation. A condition usually found in people above the age of 50 years called ischemic colitis, resulting from the lack of blood supply to the large intestine, should be ruled out. Doctors also check for other probable conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, celiac disease, and in women, gynecologic problems, before arriving at a diagnosis of inflammatory bowel disease.

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Yasser Elnahas

MD, PHD, Professor Of CardioVascular Surgery
Dr. Yasser Elnahas, Is an associate Professor of Cardiovascular Surgery. Dr. Elnahas was trained as a fellow At Texas Heart Institute And Mayo Clinic Foundation.Dr. Elnahas is dedicated to educating the general public about different disease conditions and simplifying the medical knowledge in an easy to understand terminology.

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