What is IBD?
IBD is the acronym for Inflammatory Bowel Disease, a group of autoimmune diseases that includes Crohn’s disease, Ulcerative Colitis and other forms of colitis. Estimates suggest 61,000 Australians have an IBD; approximately 28,000 have Crohn's Disease and 33,000 have ulcerative colitis, but recent studies suggest these numbers may be even higher. IBDs are chronic and involve sections of the intestine experiencing inflammation. Symptoms usually start fairly early in life. Most cases appearing between the ages of 15 -40 and affect women more often than men.
61,000 Australians are estimated to have an IBD.
What Causes IBD?
Researchers are still working to find the exact causes of IBDs; we do know that a likely cause is an abnormality of the body’s immune system. We know that symptoms often occur throughout the body,
including joint pain, rashes on the skin and sore eyes.
How is IBD Diagnosed?
Many patients suffer from IBD symptoms for years before finding a diagnosis.
Often a diagnosis requires a number of tests including the use of a microscopic pathology tests to examine a bowel sample, X-rays or scans of the bowel or direct inspection through a special instrument, known as a colonoscope.
How Can IBD Be Treated?
With careful attention to medications, diet and management of other factors such as stress, most people with an IBD can keep their illness under control, most of the time. However some also require surgery. A section of affected bowel may be removed and the healthy parts of the bowel are then rejoined. Sometimes, when a large portion of the bowel is affected, a colostomy or ileostomy may provide pain relief. Modern treatments and surgical techniques mean that this kind of treatment is now less common.