By Dr Sushant Kumar Sethi
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) signifies chronic inflammation of bowel and includes mainly ulcerative colitis, which involves the colon only and the Crohn’s disease affects right from mouth cavity to anus.
The disease is on the rise not just due to urbanization, stress, dietary life style but also because of the advancement in healthcare sector for ready recognition of the problem. Earlier in India and in many countries IBD, especially Crohn’s disease was misdiagnosed as tuberculosis of GI tract as they share similar clinical picture. The etiological factor for inflammatory bowel disease is by and large unknown. However it is postulated that in a genetically predisposed individual environmental triggers - in the form of infection, toxin, stress and other unknown factors lead to some immunological alteration in the bowel which results in ulceration and narrowing of the bowel along with some immunological phenomenon.
Majority of patients with ulcerative colitis present blood mixed diarrhea for weeks or months together where as in Crohn’s disease patients present abdominal pain, diarrhea and constipation. Sometimes ulcer in mouth, joint swelling and fistulous opening to nearby organs are also noted.
Diagnosis of IBD is made by typical symptoms, some blood tests and radiological tests but mostly by colonoscopy and biopsy. Treatment includes immunomodulators, immunosuppressants, monoclonal antibodies and surgery in selected case.
Since IBD is a chronic remitting and a relapsing illness which requires lifelong treatment and follow up, it bears huge healthcare burden and impairment in quality of life with loss of manpower. Hence it is of paramount importance to counsel the patient that, they can lead a normal life including their job, marriage, pregnancy, and child birth etc. It is also important that they should seek health care facility even if they continue to be on remission.
(DISCLAIMER: This is an opinion piece. The views expressed are the author’s own and have nothing to do with OTV’s charter or views. OTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same. The author is a Gastroenterologist & Hepatologist and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)