Many people are confused about the difference between IBS(Irritable Bowel Syndrome)and Crohn’s disease. Both conditions have similar symptoms and lifestyle management options, but they’re very different health problems.
The symptoms for irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn’s disease can be similar. If you’re experiencing diarrhea, constipation, gas, pain in your abdomen, blood in your stool, and/or bloating you may have one of these conditions.
Going to your doctor will help you to get a proper diagnosis. Your doctor will want to know about your symptoms and may even ask some questions about your diet and other lifestyle factors. She may run blood tests and order images to see what’s going on in your bowels.
If you have IBS, your tests will most likely come back very normal. Irritable bowel syndrome isn’t really a disease, it’s more a collection of symptoms. The actual structure of your gut will look normal and you won’t have signs of an infection.
With Crohn’s disease, your tests will come back to show that you have inflammation in your bowel. Crohn’s is an inflammatory illness that can even cause ulcers in your intestines. It also makes it difficult for you to absorb nutrients, so you may find that you have vitamin deficiencies.
Irritable bowel syndrome is primarily treated through lifestyle change. You may be asked to add fiber to your diet or be prescribed anti-diarrheal medications. But there’s no infection to fight so there’s not much else that can be done. Fortunately, lifestyle changes tend to be very effective at providing relief.
With Crohn’s disease, you’ll have more serious medical treatment. You may be prescribed steroids to help calm inflammation. You may also be prescribed other medications to help suppress your immune system so that your body won’t attack your intestines.
In serious cases of inflammation and damaged intestines, you may require surgery to remove damaged bowel. Often people have a recurrence of the disease even after such a surgery, but the surgery does ease acute symptoms.
As with IBS, Crohn’s disease will require some lifestyle changes. Some foods, such as dairy and high fiber foods, can cause the illness to flare up. It’s also important in the case of both to quit smoking as this can make symptoms worse.
In addition, when you have IBS or Crohn’s, it can also be accompanied by depression. Having a chronic illness can often bring feelings of isolation and you may need counseling or even antidepressants. It’s important to understand that IBS and Crohn’s are similar in some ways, but very different in others.
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