What is bowel inflammation?

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Inflammatory bowel disease or inflammation of the intestine is inflammation of the digestive tract which is characterized by irritation to injury. Inflammation of the intestine can cause symptoms such as diarrhea, abdominal pain, and weight loss.

Inflammation of the intestine can occur at any age but is more often found at the age of 15-30 years. The exact cause of intestinal inflammation is unknown, but it is thought to be related to an impaired immune system.

Inflammation of the intestine or inflammatory bowel disease consists of 2 types of diseases, namely ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Ulcerative colitis is chronic inflammation in the deepest layer of the large intestine or colon, while Crohn’s disease is an inflammation that can occur in the entire digestive system, starting from the mouth to the anus.

Symptoms of Bowel Inflammation

Symptoms of inflammatory bowel varies, depending on the location of inflammation in the digestive tract. These symptoms include:

  • Abdominal pain or stomach cramps
  • Bloated
  • Diarrhea
  • Eating tastes are reduced
  • Weight loss
  • Bloody bowel ( hematochezia )

In addition to the intestine, inflammation can also occur outside the digestive system, such as in the eyes, skin, or joints ( arthritis ). Especially for patients with Crohn’s disease, canker sores or wounds can appear in the genital area.

Bloody bowel due to inflammation of the intestines can also cause anemia or lack of blood, which causes complaints easily tired and pale.

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Causes and Risk Factors for Bowel Inflammation.

Until now, the cause of intestinal inflammation is unknown, but it is thought to be related to an abnormal immune system response called autoimmune. The immune system functions against bacterial or viral infections. But in autoimmune patients, the resistance effort attacks the body’s tissues, which in this case is the intestine.

Besides autoimmune, a person is more at risk of developing intestinal inflammation due to the following:

  • Have smoking habits.
  • Live near industrial estates.
  • Frequently consume nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
  • Under the age of 35 years.

When viewed by sex, Crohn’s disease is more experienced by women, while ulcerative colitis affects men more.

Diagnosis of Intestinal Inflammation.

Inflammation of the intestine is determined after the doctor knows the symptoms in the patient, performs a physical examination, and carries out a series of supports which include:

Fecal examination.

This examination is done to detect infection and the presence of blood in the stool that cannot be seen in plain view.

Endoscopy and binoculars.

This endoscope is done to see the lining of the intestinal cavity using a special device equipped with a camera. Tools can be inserted through the anus or mouth

Blood test

This test aims to determine whether the patient has anemia or infection.

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Imaging test

X-rays, abdominal ultrasound, CT scan, or MRI are performed if other things are suspected to cause symptoms.

Treatment of Bowel Inflammation

Treatment is done to relieve symptoms that appear and prevent the recurrence of symptoms. To relieve mild symptoms, several lifestyle changes can be made, namely:

Change the type of food and drink

Patients need to avoid milk, alcohol, caffeine and spicy foods because they can cause diarrhea complaints. Also, limit the consumption of fatty foods and multiply fibrous foods.

Stop smoking

Smoking habits can worsen intestinal inflammation, especially in Crohn’s disease.

Exercise regularly

Exercising regularly can help restore normal bowel function and also reduce stress.
For more serious conditions, doctors can provide medicines to suppress inflammatory responses, including:

Corticosteroids

Corticosteroids are usually given first to relieve inflammation in the digestive tract.

Immunosuppressive drugs

This drug serves to inhibit the body’s immune system from attacking the intestine and causing inflammation. Examples of this type of drug are cyclosporine, methotrexate, ustekinumab, and infliximab.

Antibiotics

This drug is given in addition to infection. Antibiotics that can be used are ciprofloxacin or metronidazole.

Antidiarrheal medication

One of the drugs used to relieve diarrhea is loperamide.

Painkillers

This drug is given to treat abdominal pain. Examples of these drugs are ibuprofen and paracetamol.

Iron supplements

This drug is given for cases of chronic intestinal bleeding that can cause iron-deficiency anemia.

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Calcium and vitamin D supplements

This supplement is given to patients with Crohn’s disease because of the risk of osteoporosis.

If lifestyle changes and medications cannot overcome complaints of intestinal inflammation, the doctor will advise patients to undergo surgery. The surgery is carried out according to the type of intestinal inflammation that is experienced, namely:

Surgery for ulcerative colitis

Surgery that can be done for ulcerative colitis is to remove the entire large intestine (proctocolectomy) so that the remaining food is directly from the small intestine to the anus. Sometimes the small intestine cannot be connected to the anus, so a special hole is made in the abdomen (stoma) to remove feces.

Surgery for Crohn’s disease

The main goal of surgery is to remove the damaged part of the digestive tract, close the abnormal channel (fistula) if it forms, or remove pus. Until now, there have been no treatment measures that can cure intestinal inflammation, other than through surgery.

Complications of Bowel Inflammation

If not treated properly, inflammation of the intestine can cause several dangerous complications. Complications that can arise include:

  • Dehydration
  • Bowel obstruction
  • The formation of abnormal channels (fistulas)
  • Blood clots in intestinal blood vessels
  • Megacolon
  • Colon cancer.

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