What Is Inflammatory Bowel Disease and How to Cope with It

In New Zealand, the number of people suffering from inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) has been steadily increasing in recent years. In fact, approximately one in 250 people have this condition. That’s about 75,000 cases, which is projected to increase to 100,000 by 2022. If you happen to be one of those people suffering from IBD or you know someone who does, here are some things you should know about it.

IBD Types and Symptoms

IBD is actually an umbrella term used for chronic-relapsing inflammatory conditions of the intestines. Under it are two similar conditions that affect the human body in different ways. The two main types of IBD are as follows:

Crohn’s Disease - This is characterised by inflammation anywhere along the entire digestive tract, from the mouth to the anus. In most cases, it affects the end of the small intestine and the beginning of the large intestine, or colon. No one actually knows what causes this particular condition. Scientists and researchers have been baffled at what could be causing this, with one prevalent theory being that it’s affected by genetics, the immune system, and environmental issues.

Crohn’s disease can be both painful and debilitating. In some cases, it can even lead to life-threatening complications. When the condition is active, signs and symptoms may include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Mouth Sores
  • Fever
  • Blood in Your Stool
  • Reduced Appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Abdominal Pain and Cramping
  • Pain or Drainage Near or Around the Anus

Ulcerative Colitis - This disease occurs in the rectum and often extends up into the colon, sometimes even involving the entirety of its length. The main difference between ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease is that the former causes inflammation that’s limited to the lining of the rectum and colon. It doesn’t invade deeper tissue. Ulcerative colitis is also a painful thing to endure. Some of its known symptoms include:

  • Diarrhea or Urgent Bowel Movements
  • Abdominal Cramping
  • Weight Loss
  • Nausea
  • Anemia
  • Tiredness

Coping and Managing the Disease

While IBD has some treatment available through medication and surgery, it’s dealing with the symptoms that prove to be quite difficult for most patients. Most of the time, people end up being too fatigued to do anything else because of what they’re going through. It can even affect some people’s ability to work normally, especially when the symptoms are flaring up. Coping with the symptoms of IBD can be characterised in many ways. To deal with IBD fatigue, you should consider doing the following:

  • Try to Be More Productive Earlier in the Day - It may be easier said than done, but it can help you a lot at home and even at work. Since you have the most energy earlier in the day, take it as an opportunity to do everything you need to do before you start to experience the symptoms again.

  • Take Naps - Sometimes, IBD sufferers don’t exactly get enough sleep at night due to the symptoms. If there’s a chance for you to take a nap, seize the opportunity when you can. Consider talking to your employer about certain arrangements so you can rest during work hours.

  • Eat-Nutrient Dense Food - Eating a healthy diet and avoiding processed foods help reduce the intensity of your symptoms. Junk food usually contains additives that are sometimes associated with IBD flares, so avoid them at all costs. 

  • Conclusion

    Living with IBD is never easy, but it’s definitely possible to have some semblance of normalcy even if you’re suffering from the symptoms. As long as you maintain a healthy lifestyle and follow your doctor’s recommendations, having IBD won’t be as bad as it would seem.

    Don’t let IBD control all aspects of your life. Unichem Greenhithe Pharmacy offers a range of treatments and options for you to have the best health solutions. From allergy management to stomach comfort supplements, we carry items that help you improve your quality of life. Contact us today to learn more about our products and services.