Did you know that inflammatory bowel disease also known as IBD is sometimes called an ‘invisible illness’ because symptoms like abdominal pain and fatigue are difficult for others to see? Plus, people with the condition often feel embarrassed or hesitant to talk about it.
IBD can be painful, debilitating, and many people suffer in silence throughout their lives. It’s important that IBD symptoms are well managed as there is an increased risk of developing bowel cancer with both Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis.
Many diseases are included under the umbrella term IBD. The two most common ones are:
- Ulcerative colitis (UC) – This involves inflammation of the large intestine
- Crohn’s disease –This can cause inflammation in any parts of the digestive tract as well as other part of the body, including the eyes and joints. Crohn’s is a systemic disease, meaning it can affect any part of the body. However, it mostly affects the tail end of the small intestine called the ileum.
Symptoms of IBD vary depending on the location and severity of inflammation, but they may include:
- Diarrhoea, which occurs when affected parts of the bowel cannot reabsorb water
- Bleeding ulcers, which may cause blood to show up in the stool
- Stomach pain, cramping, and bloating due to bowel obstruction
- Weight loss and anaemia, which can cause delayed physical growth or development in children
People with Crohn’s disease may also get canker sores in their mouths. Sometimes ulcers and fissures also appear around the genital area or anus.
IBD can also be associated with problems outside of the digestive system, such as:
- Eye inflammation
- Skin disorders
IBD and the immune system
The immune system normally defends the body from pathogens, which are organisms that cause diseases and infections. A food poisoning-based bacterial or viral infection of the digestive tract can trigger an immune response. The digestive tract becomes inflamed as the body tries to create an immune response against the invaders.
In a healthy immune response, the inflammation goes away when the infection is gone. In people with IBD, however, digestive tract inflammation can occur even when there’s no infection. The immune system attacks the body’s own cells instead. This is known as an auto-immune response and IBD is classed as an auto-immune disease.
IBD can also occur when the inflammation doesn’t go away after the infection is cured. For example, in the case of food poisoning, the ‘bug’ can live in the intestines for years, causing inflammatory flare-ups.
There is also a risk of developing IBD after taking antibiotics. A report published in The Lancet in August noted that patients who had three or more previous antibiotic treatments had a 55% increased risk for IBD compared to no antibiotic use. Another reason why it is SO IMPORTANT to take a three-month course of Live Bacteria probiotics after antibiotic treatment.
Lifestyle choices are important when you have IBD
- Drink plenty of fluids – this helps you make up for fluids lost in your stool, especially if you are having multiple bowel movements daily
- Avoid triggers, like dairy products and stressful situations – this can help improve symptoms and reduce flare-ups
- Avoid a diet that’s high in fat and processed foods – instead, aim to eat plenty of nutrient-rich foods
- Exercise regularly and if you smoke, quit!
You will find lots more information about IBD in my fact sheet here.
My recommended supplementation protocol for anyone with IBD is my Perfect Balance Kit. It contains four of my supplements, including Live Bacteria probiotic capsules, Digestive Enzymes tablets, Omega 3 fish oil capsules, and Garlic tablets. The combination of these supplements help to heal and repair the digestive system, and restore the balance in your gut, which in turn helps you manage your IBD symptoms with greater ease.
Read this wonderful success story!
A few years ago, I was contacted by Kathryn who had been diagnosed with IBD. Her symptoms, which included bloating, stomach cramps, and diarrhoea – sometimes with bleeding became so debilitating that she had begun to lose hope that she would ever be able to lead a normal life without worrying about where the nearest loo was.
Read how the supplements in the PBK helped get her back on track here.
If you have any questions about a digestive and gut health issue, or would like to know more about our supplements, please get in touch.