It is essential to understand the difference between irritable bowel syndrome and ulcerative colitis, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and crohn's disease because they are different disorders and may require different treatments. There is no inflammation of the gut or colon with irritable bowel syndrome, but there is with ulcerative colitis, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and crohn's disease.
The term "spastic colitis," sometimes used to refer to irritable bowel syndrome, is inaccurate and has caused a great deal of confusion. The medical word "colitis" actually means that the inner lining of the colon is inflamed and/or ulcerated; however, the colon is not inflamed or ulcerated in irritable bowel syndrome.
The colitis conditions associated with inflammation are called Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, or IBD. Approximately one million Americans are afflicted with them. The cause is not known. Treatments can include some strong medications like antibiotics, corticosteroids (like prednisone), and immunosuppressive drugs like 6-mercaptopurine and azathioprine. Surgery may be necessary. These drugs and surgery are never necessary to treat irritable bowel syndrome.
There are two forms of colitis/inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) - each with a classical triad of symptoms:
Since many people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), ulcerative colitis, and Crohn's disease also have IBS, they can benefit from the advice and treatment offered in IBS & the Mind-Body/Brain-Gut Connnection.
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