The inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) are diseases in which parts of the digestive tract become spontaneously inflamed and ulcerated. These diseases are: Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and indeterminate colitis. These are recurring relapsing conditions that can usually be controlled with medication. People with IBD continue to lead normal, active and productive lives.
Symptoms are varied, comprising:
The exact cause of IBD is unknown. It is thought that the immune system in genetically predisposed people react in an inappropriate way to environmental factors and causing the individual to develop IBD.
a. Genetic factors: Genes associated with IBD are not found in every IBD patients. Different genes have also been found in different ethnic populations. Likewise, having a suspected IBD gene does not mean that one will definitely develop IBD.
b. Environmental factors: Lifestyle and diet are thought to contribute to development of IBD. Smoking has been associated with Crohn’s disease. The presence of certain bacteria in the gut has been associated with IBD. It is thought that the composition of bacteria in the intestines is dependent on the diet, and the diet of Singaporeans has changed over the last 50 years as the country progressed from a developing to a developed economy.
c. Individual immune response: The over-reaction of the immune system plays a role in the development of IBD.
A. Treatment when disease is active:
Patients with IBD get recurrent flares of their condition. Common medicines used during flares include:
B. Maintenance treatment to prevent flare:
IBD is a treatable illness that can be kept in remission.