Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD SA)

What is Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)?

There are two main types of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD): Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis.

What is Crohn’s Disease?

Crohn’s Disease causes inflammation of the digestive tract, from the mouth to the anus, and often spreads into the deeper layers of the bowel. Sometimes part or all the lining of the digestive tract becomes inflamed, which is a usual immune response to fighting off invaders such as bacteria. It becomes a problem when the inflammation continues, as it does in Crohn’s Disease, and can damage the walls of the digestive tract.

What is Ulcerative Colitis?

Ulcerative Colitis (UC) affects the large intestine (colon) and rectum. It happens when parts or all the lining of these areas becomes inflamed. This is usually a response to something foreign (such as an infection). However, in UC, the body recognizes the bowel as foreign, and the inflammation continues, which can lead to ongoing damage to the colon.

What causes IBD?

Doctors are still not sure exactly what causes Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis. What is known is that genetics, other immune disorders and environment factors can all increase the risk.

What are the symptoms of IBD?

Common symptoms of Chron’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Blood in your stool
  • Cramping
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fever
  • Rectal pain
  • Malnutrition

What treatment options are available?

Treatment for Crohn’s and Colitis has come a long way but there is still no cure. Treatment will vary depending on the person and severity of the disease, but may include:

  • Aminosalicylates
  • Corticosteriods
  • Immunosuppressants
  • Antibiotics
  • Biologics and small molecules
  • Surgery (a last line treatment for severe or refractory cases)

Find out more

Find out more about Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis

We have a number of gastroenterologists who have a special interest, and additional training, in Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). To find out more, talk to one our gastroenterologists today.