Why Choose Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital for Inflammatory Bowel Disease Treatment?
At Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital, our gastroenterologists are well trained in diagnosing and treating a wide range of conditions such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), namely Crohn's disease, and ulcerative colitis. After carefully evaluating your condition, our specialists will recommend a comprehensive treatment plan that best suits your needs.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease, or IBD, includes conditions that generate a chronic or repetitive immune system reaction that results in the inflammation of either the whole digestive tract or portions of it.
The two main conditions that are cataloged under IBD are Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, both of which present a number of symptoms such as diarrhea, lethargy, pain, and weight loss, and can be serious. What exactly causes these conditions is not yet known. As a result, prevention and treatment can sometimes be difficult. Specialists suggest that these diseases are more frequent in developed countries, due unhealthy lifestyles and exposure to pollution. Inflammatory bowel diseases currently affect more than 1 million people in the United States alone and is most common for people of Caucasian and Ashkenazi Jewish descent.
Surgical Procedures Performed at Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital for Inflammatory Bowel Disease
IBDs, namely Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, can be treated by using a wide range of treatments. However, it is not uncommon for these conditions to require surgery if the patient is not responding well to medication or when the symptoms become extremely severe. If the patient's condition requires surgery, the doctor will take into consideration a series of factors such as the location of the disease in the digestive tract, the symptoms, complications, and severity of the disease.
Drugs and Other Treatments Needed for Inflammatory Bowel Disease
The most important thing when treating inflammatory bowel diseases and their symptoms, is to find the treatment that most effectively reduces inflammation in the digestive tract. If inflammation is reduced, the symptoms generated by the disease can disappear and the disease itself can become remissive. However, since this disorder cannot be cured, patients must use medications or surgery to keep symptoms under control. When treating IBD with medications, gastroenterologists take one of two approaches: First, the “top down” approach, which consists of the administration of stronger medications first, or second, and the “step-up” approach, which consists of treating the patients with milder medications first. Some of the most common medications used to treat inflammatory bowel diseases are:
Enteral or parenteral nutrition »
Immune system suppressors »
Pain relievers »
Anti-diarrheal medications »
There are several different types of inflammatory bowel disease, but the most common ones are ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, which also have several subtypes, depending on where the condition is located.
Indeterminate colitis »
Ulcerative colitis »
Crohn’s disease »
Behçet’s disease »
Diversion colitis »
Microscopic colitis »
Symptoms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Inflammatory bowel disease can cause a wide range of symptoms, which may vary based on the location of the inflammation and its severity. Additionally, the intensity of the symptoms associated with IBD can vary from mild to severe, generating episodes of intense illness, followed by periods of amelioration.
Some of the most common symptoms associated with inflammatory bowel diseases, namely Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are:
Diagnosis of Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Gastroenterologists usually diagnose inflammatory bowel disease by ruling out other possible causes of the patient’s symptoms like infections, IBS, diverticulitis, cancer, or ischemic colitis. Consequently, one or more of the following procedures might be used in order to correctly diagnose inflammatory bowel disease:
- Blood tests: These tests can detect whether the patient is suffering from any infections or anemia. This information can help the doctor determine the nature of the disease.
- Stool analysis: Your gastroenterologist might recommend a stool analysis, or a fecal occult blood test, in order to check for blood in your stool.
- Endoscopic procedures: There are various endoscopic procedures available when trying to diagnose inflammatory bowel diseases such as colonoscopies, flexible sigmoidoscopies, upped endoscopies, capsule endoscopies, or double-balloon endoscopies.
- Imaging procedures: These tests facilitate the visualization of the patient’s digestive tract. Some of the most frequently used imaging procedures used are X-rays, CT scans, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and small bowel imaging.
Risk Factors for Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Some of the most important risk factors for inflammatory bowel diseases are:
- Age: Inflammatory bowel diseases generally affect young adults and teenagers, but it is not uncommon for older people to develop IBD as well. However, it has been discovered that patients who are younger tend to develop a more serious version of these conditions due to hereditary factors.
- Geography: Specialists believe that IBD is more common in Western countries, where lifestyles are unhealthier and where more processed foods are consumed. Developed countries also tend to have more pollution, which is thought to be a factor.
- Genetics: People whose family members are affected by inflammatory bowel disease are more likely to develop IBD as well. According to researchers, if a twin is affected by Crohn’s disease, there is a 50 percent chance that their sibling will also be affected by the same condition.
- Medications: Certain medications are thought to contribute to the development of inflammatory bowel diseases such as hormonal-replacements or anti-inflammatories.
- Ethnicity: It is thought that people of Caucasian descent and people of Ashkenazi Jewish descent might be more likely to develop IBDs.
- Parasites: A theory that has yet to be verified suggests that because today we are less likely to have intestinal parasites, we might actually have more chances of developing IBDs, as intestinal worms might actually lower the incidence of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
- Bacteria: Although colon bacteria have a crucial role in the normal functioning of our digestive system, certain harmful bacteria like campylobacter can increase the chances of developing IBD.
- Food: According to some recent studies in Japan, it appears that consuming large amounts of animal protein, fats, and sugar can increase the chances of developing IBD.
- Appendicitis: Having had an appendectomy might lower the risk of developing inflammatory bowel disease, especially in young people.
- Smoking: This unhealthy habit can cause a great deal of damage to the digestive system and it can even increase a person’s chances of developing IBD.
Causes of Inflammatory Bowel Disease
The exact cause of inflammatory bowel disease is not clear yet, but specialists suspect that one of the causes might be a malfunction of the immune system. Another possible cause may be genetics, as it has been demonstrated that people whose family members are suffering from IBDs are very likely to develop these conditions as well. Diet and stress were previously believed to be the main causes for IBDs, but recent studies have shown that these factors do not cause them, but only aggravate existing IBD.
Because there is no permanent cure for inflammatory bowel diseases, people tend to try a wide range of treatments, including alternative ones. However, IBD is serious and it is strongly recommended that patients discuss their treatment options with their doctor first. Some of the most popular alternative treatments for IBD:
- Acupuncture: It is believed that by doing acupuncture sessions, which consist of the insertion of tiny needles into certain points of the human body, some of the symptoms of inflammatory bowel diseases may be relieved.
- Probiotics: According to certain studies, adding more foods that are rich in probiotics into your daily diet can alleviate the symptoms of IBD.
- Prebiotics: These compounds are found in plants, like artichoke, and are thought to help the growth of beneficial intestinal bacteria.
- Fish oil: Having anti-inflammatory properties, fish oil might help alleviate some of the symptoms associated with IBDs. However, this substance is not recommended for patients who suffer from diarrhea, as it might aggravate it.
- Aloe vera: This plant has anti-inflammatory properties and is thought to be beneficial for people with ulcerative colitis, with the exception of people who have diarrhea, as it might aggravate their symptoms.
- Turmeric: This popular spice contains a substance called curcumin, which is thought to alleviate the symptoms of people who suffer from ulcerative colitis.
IBD can sometimes occur due to hereditary factors and thus is impossible to prevent. However, certain cases of IBD or relapse can be prevented by making a series of lifestyle improvements such as: quitting smoking, eating a balanced diet, avoiding fats and processed foods, avoiding polluted cities, and regular exercise.
Are you suffering from inflammatory bowel disease? For any questions, information or guidance related to IBD treatments, get in touch with our specialty-trained, skilled gastroenterologists at Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital.