Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) in Northwest Arkansas

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Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a blanket term describing swelling in the intestines. Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is typically classified into two corresponding but separate diseases:

  • Crohn's disease: Crohn's disease creates uncomfortable inflammation of your GI tract, namely your colon. It is usually at the base of the small bowel, the start of the colon, and could affect any area of the GI tract from the mouth to the anus.
  • Ulcerative colitis: Ulcerative colitis also occurs through inflammation of the colon but is generally accompanied by ulcerations in the tissue. It is restricted to the large bowel.

The gastrointestinal physicians at GI Alliance of Arkansas frequently detect and handle inflammatory bowel disease. If you think you could be experiencing this condition and are in need of care for IBD in Arkansas, please get in touch with our practice to partner with a gastrointestinal physician.

Inflammatory bowel disease is often described as stemming from a malfunction in the immune system. Just as when your body appropriately triggers your immune system to deal with a virus or bacteria, an abnormal immune system response can attack the cells in the gastrointestinal system. As a result, portions of the small intestine and colon become inflamed. Inflammatory bowel disease does possess a genetic element and can be passed down from parent to offspring. Risk factors of IBD include:

  • Ethnicity or race: Inflammatory bowel disease is most frequent in Caucasians and people of Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry but can affect anyone.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen
  • Age: Most individuals diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease are lower than the age of 30.
  • Family history: IBD is linked to being passed down in the genes.
  • Tobacco use
  • Geography: Living in a well-developed region and/or northern regions may enhance the chance of inflammatory bowel disease.

IBD can manifest various symptoms, depending on which disease you have and its severity. The common signs of inflammatory bowel disease involve:

  • Rectal pain
  • Urgency to defecate
  • Stomach cramps
  • Mouth sores
  • Fever
  • Loss of normal menstrual cycle
  • Blood in your stool
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Distress or drainage in the area around the anus
  • Chronic tiredness
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Joint pain or inflexibility
  • Abrupt weight loss
  • Rash

We urge you to get in touch with a GI Alliance of Arkansas gastrointestinal specialist if you notice any constant shift in bowel habits or experience any mix of the above indicators. Call one of our GI offices in Arkansas today to request a consultation.

IBD may be identified through various diagnostic tests, which will be chosen by your physician according to your symptoms.

An endoscopy or a colonoscopy is commonly utilized to detect inflammatory bowel disease. In some cases, other imaging procedures will be carried out, such as x-ray, MRI, or CT.

What are the treatments for IBD?

The main focus of treatment for IBD is to alleviate the inflammation in your digestive system so as to eliminate or reduce your symptoms. Treatment may, over time, enable long-term remission of IBD. Treatment options for IBD include:

  • Anti-diarrheal medications
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs targeted at an overactive immune system
  • Surgery
  • Vitamin D and calcium supplements
  • Enteral nutrition (liquid supplements)
  • Antibiotics
  • Iron supplements
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Is inflammatory bowel disease a genetic condition?

For some patients, genetic factors can influence the development of inflammatory bowel disease. However, you could be genetically prone to getting IBD but never have the condition. The hereditary chance of disease occurrence is higher with Crohn’s disease when compared with ulcerative colitis.

Does IBD raise the risk of getting cancer?

Getting inflammatory bowel disease does not automatically mean a person will have cancer. But it can raise the chance of colon or rectal cancer development. Managing the disease well and controlling inflammation may help lessen the cancer risk. Talk with your GI Alliance of Arkansas gastroenterologist for further information about the chance of developing cancer when you have IBD.

Can dietary factors affect inflammatory bowel disease?

Making certain dietary modifications may help to lessen some IBD symptoms. This might focus on cutting out foods that could induce abdominal pain, diarrhea, bloating, and gas, among other troublesome symptoms. Your gastroenterology provider can help you identify a diet ideal for your needs.

Will inflammatory bowel disease ever go away?

Presently, there is no identified cure for inflammatory bowel disease. However, there may be times when the condition becomes inactive and is in remission. IBD and its effects may be addressed and managed via medications, supplements, and dietary modifications.

IBD is not a fatal condition in and of itself. If it's left uncontrolled and untreated, however, IBD may lead to potentially fatal complications in time. Moreover, leaving inflammatory bowel disease uncared for may lead to an increased chance of colon cancer. As a highly experienced team of GI specialists, GI Alliance of Arkansas conducts options for care to help regulate the signs and enhance the lives of those dealing with inflammatory bowel disease. To receive help for IBD in Arkansas, please contact our GI facility today.

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As always he takes the time to listen to what you have to say and answers any and all questions. Always enjoy my visit with Dr. Gary Thomas. He is a great physician and in my opinion he's the best.

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