Ulcerative Colitis is a disease of the colon in which the inner lining of the colon becomes inflamed or red and swollen and develops open painful wounds or ulcers. The result of this disease is usually frequent diarrhea accompanied by mucus and blood in the stool. However Ulcerative Colitis only affects the lining of the intestines, Crohn’s Disease affects the entire bowel wall. Crohn’s Disease the second part of Inflammatory Bowel Disease affects the last part of the small intestine as well as parts of the large intestine. It causes deeper inflammation in the intestinal wall.
The cause of Inflammatory Bowel Disease is not yet determined. Suspected causes include environmental influences, diet, and possibly genetics. One consideration is a genetic defect that affects the immune system. As a result certain bacteria, viruses or proteins can result in an inflammatory bowel. With Inflammatory Bowel Disease though the inflammation begins and does not go back down.
There are certain signs and symptoms that should alert you that you or someone you know has Inflammatory Bowel Disease. This disease most commonly affects people in Western Europe and North America between the ages of 15 and 30. The primary signs are frequent abdominal pain and diarrhea ranging in severity. This diarrhea often results in dehydration, rapid heartbeat and lowered blood pressure. The loss of small amounts of blood that may come with the diarrhea can also result in anemia. Diarrhea and chronic inflammation can result in fever, fatigue, weight loss and malnutrition. Abdominal cramping can also result from irritation of the nerves and muscles that control intestinal contractions.
The partial obstruction of the intestines from the Crohn’s Disease and the inflammation of the rectum can results of in bouts of constipation as well. Inflammatory Bowel Disease can cause additional health problems such as inflammation of the joints, eyes, skin, and liver. It can also cause skin tags that look like hemorrhoids or abscesses around the rectal area. In children and teens this disease can cause a delay in puberty and or growth problems because it interferes with nutrient absorption.
If you fear you or someone you know may suffer from this disease you should seek medical attention immediately. Symptoms may not appear for years and the disease can be difficult to diagnose. A doctor can suggest certain tests to determine if Inflammatory Bowel Disease is present such as blood tests as well as check for anemia and infection. They may also check a stool sample for the presence of blood. There are also many other tests that can be run to check for this disease such as a colonoscopy, an upper endoscopy, a biopsy, or a barium study.
The treatment for this disease is most often the use of medications such as anti-inflammatory drugs or immuno-suppressive agents. If there is no response to either type of medication then surgery may be suggested as a last resort. In order to help your child deal with this disease and live a happy healthy life there are also certain steps you can take. It is important to seek treatment as soon as possible but you should also insure your child receives a balanced diet. As a result of this disease they will lose more nutrients. It is important to encourage small nutritious meals throughout the day. Foods high in fat and sodium can intensify the symptoms of this disease.