Monday, July 1, 2013

What is the Difference Between IBS and IBD?

IBS is the acronym for Irritable Bowel Syndrome, while IBD is the abbreviated form of Inflammatory Bowel Disease. IBD might lead to serious chronic ailments like Ulcerative Colitis (UC) and Crohn's Disease (CD). Often people tend to confuse IBS with IBD as IBS symptoms are in many ways similar to that of IBD. Also both IBS and IBD are diseases that affect the digestive system. But IBD is much more serious than IBS with grave consequences. IBS is not a very serious gastrointestinal disorder but IBD ruptures the bowel linings and causes intestinal ulcers.

As diarrhea, cramping, and abdominal pain are evident in both IBS and IBD, those cannot be used to pinpoint the exact disease. Laboratory tests and the endoscopic results are successfully able to discriminate between the two. The lab results would clearly show that inflammations have occurred in the stool and blood in case of IBD. IBS patients would not show any abnormalities in those tests. Also, in IBD there is a distinctive swelling of the intestinal lining while in IBS the lining would appear normal.

Discomfort in the bowel region, vomiting, fever can be all considered as common IBS symptoms. Many people even after coming out from the lavatory feel that their bowels have not been completely evacuated. Abdominal distention is another common symptom associated with IBS. The exact reason due to which IBS is caused has not yet been identified. But medical practitioners all over the world believe that a close gastrointestinal connection is definitely present. Problems with a person's weak immunity or gut flora can also lead to IBS. IBS is alternatively called 'spastic colon', but that is not totally accurate. When the nerves in the intestinal linings become oversensitive, a person needs to be cautious about IBS.

For the purpose of digestion, the guts need to be in constant notion (peristalsis). Normal human beings are not able to make out this constant churning that occurs inside the gut. But in case of people suffering from IBS, since the nerves are hypersensitive, these normal movements also cause lot of uneasiness. Even though IBS symptoms tend to stay for the entire life of the person, the disease can be kept under control with dietary and lifestyle changes. But IBD calls for more serious and drastic measures. Some IBD symptoms are quite different from the IBS symptoms. Weight loss, oral ulcers, bloody stool, fever, skin rashes, and joint pains are not evident in IBS but are characteristic indicators of IBD.

IBD can cause immense pain in the abdomen and ulcers in the large intestine and rectum might occur. Crohn's disease causes ulcers in both the small and the large intestines. If diarrhea is caused due to IBS, doctors prescribe anti-diarrheic medicines. Diet treatment for IBS would focus on consumption of fibrous foods and avoidance of coffee and alcoholic beverages. Anti-inflammatory drugs have to be prescribed for IBD patients to alleviate inflammation in the rectum. IBD has several other forms like lymphocytic colitis, diversion colitis, etc. Hence in spite of the similarities existent between IBS and IBD symptoms there are many differences too.

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