What is Inflammatory Bowel Disease?
Inflammatory Bowel Disease(IBD) is a term used for group of disorders which causes inflammation of the digestive tract. Inflammation in any of these areas of the digestive tract, which starts from the mouth, runs through esophagus, stomach, small and large intestine, comes under Inflammatory Bowel Disease.
Types of Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Ulcerative Colitis (UC) and Crohn’s Disease are the two main types of IBD. These are 2 different disorders however both are related to digestive tract inflammation.
Ulcerative Colitis causes ulcers and inflammation in the innermost lining of the large intestine (colon).
Crohn’s disease can cause inflammation in any part of the digestive tract; however, it is mostly seen in the small intestine area known as ileum. Hence Crohn’s disease is also known as ileitis.
Causes and Symptoms
IBD is classified as an auto immune disorder and also sometimes as an immune-mediated condition. An auto immune disorder is one where the body’s immune system attacks the healthy body tissues mistaking it to be harmful pathogens (harmful bacteria). Immune brmediated condition is one where the immune system works overtime and hence causes harm to the healthy tissues.
In IBD condition, the immune system produces antibodies which attacks the normal colonic proteins like p40 and auto-antigen like hTM5.
Inflammatory Bowel diseases can be debilitating and even life threatening at times due to complications like colon cancer.
While there is no definite cause identified, the most commonly seen risk factors are as below
• Race: IBD is seen more among whites than other races
• Diet and Lifestyle: This is seen mostly in developed countries where the diet consists of high fat and refined foods
• Age: While mostly the onset of the disease is seen below 30 years of age, in some cases it can start even after 50 years.
• Medications: Some anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen, diclofenac sodium are also known to cause IBD in some cases.
• Family History
Symptoms can be mild to start with and then becomes severe as time goes on.
• The most common symptoms are
• Pain, cramping in the abdomen and/or rectum area
• Bowel obstructions, Blood in stool
• Diarrhea, Nausea and vomiting
• Bloating of stomach
• Weight loss, Fatigue, Loss of Appetite
IBD diagnosis will be confirmed using various tests and procedures such as fecal occult blood tests, endoscopic procedures (where a slender tube with a camera, called an endoscope, is inserted either through the mouth or rectum, CT scan or MRI scans.
While IBD is not completely curable, medications can help control the symptoms and further progress of the disease. Medications include anti-inflammatory and immune-suppressant drugs which are also known to have some side effects in certain cases.
In some cases, surgery is required. Proctocolectomy (removal of entire colon and rectum) procedure is sometimes prescribed for advanced cases of Ulcerative Colitis. For Crohn’s disease, while surgery alone will not cure the disease, surgical removal of affected parts of the digestive tract is performed in some cases.
Ayurveda, the traditional Indian medical system, is also known to have some effective treatments for IBD with good results.
IBD treatment in Ayurveda (Inflammatory Bowel Disease)
Ayurveda views IBD as a digestive disorder and this is classified as disease type ‘Grahani’ in Ayurveda texts. The root cause lies within the process of digestion. Normal healthy digestive system helps in breaking down the food consumed into nutrients which produces healthy tissues. Improper life style, junk foods, incompatible food types badly affect the digestive system which results in the accumulation of food toxins. These food toxins get accumulated along the lines of the intestine causing thick deposits or inflammation. Improper digestion causes increased heat in the abdomen and this along with the deposits of food toxins causing blockages and obstructions while passing stool.
Treatment plan includes internal and external medications and therapies. Virechana (Induced purgation), Vasthi (Medicated oil and decoction enema) are among the main treatment modalities. Life style and diet modifications, meditation and yoga will also be suggested after the treatment for long term sustainable benefits.
Duration and cost of IBD treatment in Ayurveda (Inflammatory Bowel Disease)
21 Days treatment is typically planned for IBD. Cost would wary from 1,200 to 2,100 USD and would depend on the type of hospital, room etc.