Today, over three million Americans suffer from inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), a group of intestinal disorders that causes chronic inflammation in the digestive tract.
When any part of the digestive tract becomes inflamed, often causing the digestive process can be interrupted and painful or life-threatening symptoms.
Inflammatory bowel disease typically refers to one of two common intestinal inflammatory diseases; Chron’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
While different, these two diseases share many similar symptoms, including cramps, abdominal pain, diarrhea, anemia, weight loss, bleeding ulcers, and fatigue.
People with IBD may also see other symptoms unrelated to the digestive tract, including arthritis, skin disorders, and eye inflammation.
IBD has also been linked with further complications, such as colon cancer, ulcers, malnutrition, intestinal rupture, bowel obstruction, blood clots, and, in severe cases, shock.
Chron’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease that mostly involves inflammation of the small and/or large intestine, although it can affect any part of the digestive tract. Today, more 780,000 Americans have been diagnosed with the condition, and researchers are still trying to understand this disease. It is currently not understood why the disease develops or how to cure it.
Chron’s can differ from person to person, from experiencing mild symptoms that can be managed to more severe symptoms that are debilitating to the person’s life. For more severe patients, the disease can even be life-threatening.
Like Chron’s disease, ulcerative colitis (UC) also impact the gastrointestinal tract. Typically, this disease deals with chronic inflammation of the large intestine and/or rectum. And, like Chron’s, there is currently no cure. This inflammation can create sores on the lining of your large intestine called ulcers. These ulcers can be painful, bleed, and discharge mucus.
The inflammation in the large intestines can also cause food to move rapidly through your digestive tract, causing frequent bowel movements.
Causes, Risk Factors, and Treatment of Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Although the exact cause of IBD is unknown, there are two main factors that researchers have associated with it, including:
- Genetics – You could be at a higher risk of developing IBD is someone in your family also has it.
- An individual’s immune system – If your immune system produces an autoimmune response to an infection, you could be more likely to develop it.
You are also at greater risk if you:
- Are of caucasian or Ashkenazi Jewish descent)
- Below the age of 30
- Eat more processed foods
- Environmental factors
- Using nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications
Although there currently is no cure for either Chron’s disease or ulcerative colitis, there are treatments available for people who have been diagnosed.
The first line of defense against IBD are medications used to decrease inflammation and relieve symptoms. Unfortunately, as with more medications, these can come with unpleasant side effects of their own, such as an increased risk of infection, more inflammation, and rashes.
Aside from medications, treatment may include lifestyle changes, supplements, and, in more severe cases, surgery to remove or widen parts of the digestive tract that has been effected.
Lifestyle Changes to Improve IBD
If you’ve been diagnosed with an inflammatory bowel disease, the best course of action you can do is to make healthy lifestyle changes.
While your doctor may recommend other treatment options, such as medication, supplements, or surgery, the way you live your life every day can have a major impact on your IBD.
If you’ve been diagnosed with IBD, it is much easier for you to become dehydrated, and this can have negative (and painful) health consequences. Dehydration can lead to kidney stones, as well as liver, muscle, and joint damage.
To avoid becoming dehydrated, be sure you are drinking plenty of water throughout the day.
Some warning signs of dehydration include thirst, dry mouth, headaches, fatigue, feeling faint when standing, or urine that is dark in color.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Although food is often associated with IBD, it does not cause Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis, it can trigger flare-ups.
It is important to maintain a healthy diet and avoid certain foods, depending on which form of IBD you have.
Learning what to eat and how to eat without causing a flare-up doesn’t have to be a battle. It is recommended that someone with IBD eat four to six small meals a day, meal prep foods you know you can handle, use simple cooking techniques, and keep a food journal to learn what your body does well with and what doesn’t work.
The more you know about what your body can handle, the easier and less stressful meals will become.
Top Foods To Avoid
- Fatty foods
- Spicy foods
- Insoluble fiber (raw cruciferous veggies, fruits with skin, whole grains, and nuts)
Top Foods to Include in Your Diet
- Low in fiber
- Lean protein
- Cooked cruciferous veggies
- Refined grains
Smoking has a huge negative effect on your overall health, but living with IBD can be even more severe.
Studies have shown that smoking can not only greatly increase a person’s risk of developing Crohn’s, but can turn their disease more severe if they continue to smoke.
Smokers living with Crohn’s disease often find that their symptoms are more severe and have a higher risk of developing complications, such as narrowing the bowel that can lead to blockage. They are also more likely to experience flare-ups, require immunosuppressant drugs, or need surgery at some point.
On the other hand, the negative effects of smoking on ulcerative colitis may be less severe than non-existent. In fact, UC is less common among non-smokers than smokers. However, the other negative health consequences are reason enough not to smoke.
If you’ve been diagnosed with IBD, your doctor will most likely recommend various vitamin and mineral supplements, such as iron.
Each individual is different, so it is important to speak to your doctor before beginning any new supplements to make sure they will not interfere with your IBD or worsen your symptoms.
Detox Organics Daily Superfoods is an all-natural chocolate green supplement made from over 25 organic superfoods, specifically chosen to help reduce inflammation and improve digestion, and it may help those with IBD better manage their symptoms.
This superfood supplement is full of healthy fiber, which is beneficial to colon health and supports healthy bowel movements. With Detox Organics Daily Superfoods, you can give your digestions a much-needed boost!
Managing IBD Is Possible with the Right Lifestyle!
Perhaps the best way to manage your IBD is to stay healthy. Be sure you are eating the right foods, avoiding foods that cause flare-ups, drinking plenty of water, and consuming the right supplements, such as Detox Organics Daily Superfoods.
There may not currently be a cure for IBD, but there are ways you can manage your symptoms and reduce the severity and frequency of flare-ups. Be sure you are sticking to a healthy lifestyle and speak to your doctor about other treatment methods you may want to consider.