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Health blog: IBS and IBD, know the difference

What’s the difference between IBS and IBD (Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Inflammatory Bowel Disease) ?

IB Syndrome vs IB Disease

A syndrome may produce multiple symptoms with no definite cause, whereas a disease has a very clear  reason for it's existence. A syndrome can point to the possibility of disease potential however. IBS is, given todays lifestyles and diets, not
surprisingly common, with 1 in 10 individuals suffering from varying symptoms.

The spectrum of symptoms is very wide, from extreme bloating, smelly wind, constipation, severe diarrhoea, loose bowels,
stomach ache/cramps, joint pain, depression, skin conditions, to name a few.

If IBS is not dealt with through either alternative treatments or conventional intervention, it can lead to other more sinister conditions such as Colon Cancer, Colitis and even Crohn's disease. Depression is also common with sufferers. In its extreme state IBS/IBD can be debilitating, even affecting peoples ability to work, their  lifestyle, relationships and sleep.

IBS has been associated with stress as a trigger.

What causes IBS ?

There are lots of different opinions as to what causes IBS, and each patient I see has a different story to tell. I do believe that some foods and environmental factors can trigger an episode, also stress has been identified
with some patients.  Some prescription medications, prescribed for other medical conditions have also been found to
trigger IBS as it can for example slow down bowel motility. 

Some theories have suggested that changes in hormones can effect the bowel, which is why more women are shown to suffer than men. Also, the brain gut link has been suggested, in other words the brain can respond to signals from the gut.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease ?

There are two branches of IBD; Colitis and Crohns.

The exact causes are not known, however contributing factors are considered, such as stress, ethnic  background, immune system health and family history as Crohns can be inherited. It appears to be more common in white cultures than black for example.

Both can be treated with diet changes, steroids and immunosuppresant drugs.

Symptoms for Crohns:                                                 Symptoms for Colitis:

Weight Loss                                                                    Uncomfortable
sudden bowel movements

Diarrhoea                                                                         Pus and or blood in stools

Blood in Stools                                                                 Fever

Abdominal pain                                                                Weight Loss

Fever                                                                                Aching Joints


Thank you to Victoria Shorland (MBANT)

Lucy Guthrie


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