What Is Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Here’s a burning question: what is inflammatory bowel disease? An example of gastrointestinal tract chronic inflammation is inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). IBDs include Crohn’s disease, which can cause patches of inflammation anywhere in the digestive tract, and ulcerative colitis. Numerous gastrointestinal symptoms, including bloating, weight loss, diarrhea, blood in the stool, and abdominal discomfort, might be present in IBD patients.


What is inflammatory bowel disease and what ailments can affect those with IBD outside the GI tract?

Both inside and outside of the gastrointestinal system can experience IBD symptoms. These are referred to as extraintestinal symptoms of IBD (EIMs). These conditions can exist before or after someone is diagnosed with IBD. And they are present in roughly half of all IBD patients. EIMs often occur early in the course of IBD. They are more common in patients who acquire their diagnosis earlier in life. In actuality, 24% of EIM symptoms are present before an IBD diagnosis is made. Similar to IBD, the etiology of EIMs is unknown. However, they may be a result of a mix of genetic risk factors, and immunological responses. Some lifestyle factors including smoking occur.


What are some instances of IBD’s extraintestinal symptoms?

Patients may have several EIMs at once, each with different severity. Nearly any organ system can be impacted by EIMs, which may be difficult to identify. While the degree of EIM symptoms can occasionally be compared to that of stomach symptoms, under some circumstances the EIMs act independently.

Musculoskeletal: In 46% of IBD patients, musculoskeletal signs of the disease are the most prevalent. They could manifest as swelling in the fingers or toes, inflammatory tendons or ligaments, arthritis, joint pain without arthritis, or inflammatory back pain (ankylosing spondylitis) (dactylitis). Hips, the lower back, and the spine are only a few areas of the axial skeleton where arthritis can develop (fingers, wrists, elbows, knees, ankles).

IBD may result in changes to the skin and mucosa (the moist lining covering certain organs and cavities in the body). Examples of how IBD can affect the skin include oral aphthous ulcers (found with Crohn’s disease), erythema nodosum (raised purple nodules that generally appear on the front of the legs and can occur in 10% to 15% of patients), and pyoderma gangrenosum (painful skin ulcers).

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