Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Vs. Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) – what is the difference?
You may have heard of these two common digestive disorders. They share many of the same signs and symptoms, but did you know there is a significant difference between the two?
IBS is a functional gastrointestinal disorder that causes a range of digestive signs and symptoms, most commonly altered bowel motions (diarrhoea and/or constipation) and abdominal pain. The cause is not well understood, and there is no diagnostic test, so IBS is usually diagnosed using a symptom checklist. Natural treatment of IBS can involve correcting gastrointestinal bacterial imbalance, identifying and avoiding foods that exacerbate symptoms, and reducing stress and anxiety. There are many medications that are prescribed to help control IBS signs and symptoms, however, there is no single drug that has proven to be effective.
IBD is an umbrella term for a range of diseases, including Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative Colitis. IBD is characterised by inflammation due to the fact that it is an autoimmune disease, meaning the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks its own cells. In IBD, this response takes place in the digestive tract, causing debilitating signs and symptoms, such as abdominal pain/discomfort, diarrhoea, constipation or both, and blood in the stool. IBD can be diagnosed through blood tests and endoscopy examinations. Medical treatment usually involves anti-inflammatory medication, immunosuppressants, or sometimes surgery. A natural approach to IBD aims to reduce inflammation, regulate the function of the immune system, and address environmental and lifestyle factors that worsen signs and symptoms.