Dealing with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) and the pain that comes with it can be extremely difficult, and in more ways than one. Not only are these conditions which can impact your daily routine, limit the foods you’re able to eat, and cause you severe pain, it can also be embarrassing or even potentially shameful for people to deal with.
As such, it’s worth noting at the outset that IBD and associated issues are in no way something to be ashamed about. This is a condition which exists outside your control, affects millions worldwide, and can be managed with medicine and emotional support. IBD and IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) are similar conditions, as are colitis and Crohn’s Disease.
Diagnosing which is which can be complicated, and often come down to a matter of degree and what portion of your gastrointestinal tract is most affected and how.
IBD is the result of irritation, inflammation, or similar issues regarding your digestive system in general and your small and large intestines in particular. As such, anti-inflammatory medications and, in many cases, avoiding foods which may irritate or be difficult on your intestines and digestive tract are common responses to IBD.
If you believe you or someone you know may be struggling with IBD or a related condition, you’ll want to check with a gastroenterologist and see if they exhibit any of the following symptoms:
- Diarrhea: This is one of the most characteristic symptoms of a gastrointestinal problem. If you see bleeding or mucus in your stool, contact a doctor immediately, as this could well be indicative of IBD or an associated issue.
- Constipation: On the other hand, IBD can sometimes manifest with severe bouts of constipation. If you feel yourself cramping or otherwise feeling bloated, you will again want to consult a doctor.
- Urgency and frequency regarding needing to use the restroom: If you are going more than 2-3 times a day, there is a high probability of there being some issue with your gastrointestinal tract. If you are going to the bathroom significantly more than that, IBD or other associated diagnoses may be at the heart of the matter. What’s more, if you find that your bathroom visits are not just frequent but urgent, and uncontrollably so, you will likewise want to see a doctor as soon as possible.
- Stomach pain: IBD can manifest with a variety of different stomach pains. If you suspect yourself or someone you know of suffering from IBD, pay attention to the type of stomach pain; cramping and bloating can point to constipation, while sharp “stabbing” or “clawing” pains can mean another form of IBD, especially when accompanied by loose or bloody stool.
- Anemia: If you have had frequent bouts of bloody stool, you’ll want to be especially careful to avoid an incidence of anemia. If you feel light-headed, weak, or look pale in addition to your bloody stool, contact a doctor immediately—you may need iron supplements, and in the most serious cases, you may need a blood transfusion.
PAIN RELIEF TREATMENTS
While there is no cure for IBS, IBD, colitis and Crohn’s Disease, there are a variety of quality pain management and treatment options available. Two of the most heralded treatments are Remicade and Humira. These treatments have both been on the market for years, involve injections or infusions, and in many cases have helped patients reduce or manage inflammation to such a point as to bring their condition into “remission” and keep it there for years at a time. While neither are pain relief medications strictly-speaking, in allowing the patient to enter a state of “remission,” they can go a long way to lessening the physical and psychological pain which characteristically accompanies IBD and related conditions.