Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) share some similar symptoms, but IBS does not cause inflammation, ulcers, or other damage to the bowel. Inflammatory bowel disease consists of chronic inflammation of all or part of the digestive tract. The two diseases associated with IBD are ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Symptoms of both ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease include diarrhea, pain, fatigue, and weight loss among many other symptoms. IBD can be debilitating and can sometimes lead to life-threatening complications. Both ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease are lifelong conditions.
Irritable bowel syndrome, more commonly known as IBS, is a more common disorder that affects the large intestine (colon) causing cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea and constipation. IBS shares similar symptoms to IBD and can often be misdiagnosed, but the main difference is that IBS doesn’t cause inflammation, changes in bowel tissue, or increase your risk of colorectal cancer. Although IBS can be highly uncomfortable, it is a less serious problem and only a small number of people who suffer from IBS have severe symptoms.
Patients with ulcerative colitis (UC) suffer from a variety of symptoms ranging from mild to severe. Ulcerative colitis causes long lasting ulcers in the lining of the colon and rectum. In contrast, Crohn’s disease causes inflammation in the digestive tract and can affect the large and small intestine.
The exact cause is not known for IBS or IBD. Stress is known to be a trigger for both IBD and IBS. Immune system malfunction may be a possible cause linked to IBD. Heredity also seems to play some sort of role in IBD since it is more common in people who have family members with the disease.
A number of factors are said to play a role in IBS such as a health condition of walls of the intestine that contract and relax to move food through the digestive system. These contractions may be stronger and last longer than normal which cause gas, bloating, and diarrhea. The reverse can also happen where the intestinal contractions are weak and slow to move food from the stomach through to the rectum, which causes dry stools. Symptoms and triggers for IBS and IBD can vary from person to person.
Tests and diagnosis include blood tests, endoscopic procedures, and imaging procedures.
The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. Marque Medical is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.