People suffering from inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are no stranger to the inconvenience and life changes it can cause. When your digestive tract is inflamed the symptoms can be inconvenient. Your symptoms can really disrupt your life. The painful symptoms of IBD can drastically reduce a person’s quality of life. Many IBD sufferers are embarrassed to speak up about what they’re really going through. That embarrassment can delay their opportunity to find answers and relief.
Over the last few months, comedian Pete Davidson has become an unlikely advocate for Crohn’s disease. Thanks to his openness and honesty about his struggle with Crohn’s disease, others were inspired. His story has helped others to see that they aren’t alone and that there is hope.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is the term used to describe chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. This prolonged inflammation can result in painful symptoms and damage to the GI tract. The two common forms of IBD are Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
Crohn’s disease is chronic inflammation of any part of the gastrointestinal tract.
According to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, Crohn’s disease affects the end of the ileum (the small bowel) and the beginning of the colon (the large intestine), although it can affect any part of the GI tract from the mouth to the anus.
Ulcerative Colitis is a chronic gastrointestinal disorder that affects the rectum and colon.
According to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, ulcerative colitis is a chronic disease of the colon (the large intestine) when the lining of colon suffers from chronic inflammation, resulting in ulcers (tiny open sores) that produce pus and mucus.
Common Complications of IBD
Both conditions can become severe very quickly, even requiring surgery. However, Crohn’s sufferers are at greater risk of developing complications that lead to requiring surgery.
The most severe complications of Crohn’s disease include:
- Intestinal obstruction (when the bowel becomes blocked by inflammation and scarring)
- Abscesses (a localized pus pocket caused by bacterial infection)
- Fistulas (abnormal passages that connect different parts of the intestines as a result of ulcers and deep sores within the intestinal tract)
- Fissures (tears or cracks in the lining of the anus)
- Malabsorption and malnutrition
- Bile salt diarrhea (intestinal absorption of bile acids and salts becomes deficient, resulting in diarrhea)
- Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (when excessive amounts of bacteria are in the small intestine causing digestion to occur higher in the GI tract)
The most severe complications of ulcerative colitis include:
- Perforation of the bowel (when the bowel ruptures)
- Fulminant colitis (when normal contractions of the intestine stop and the abdomen becomes distended)
- Toxic megacolon (when the colon loses its ability to contract properly and move gases)
- Increased risk of colorectal cancer
When it comes to Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, most of the symptoms are very similar. Occasionally the symptoms can be non-specific to either Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. If the symptoms don’t apply to one diagnosis or another, they are referred to as intermediate colitis (IC).
A Person Can Suffer from Both IBD and IBS
Many may think inflammatory bowel disease and irritable bowel syndrome are one in the same, but they’re not. Inflammatory bowel disease is an autoimmune disease that deals with the gastrointestinal tract. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) involves the muscle contractions of the colon but not the actual GI tract.
A person can suffer from inflammatory bowel disease and irritable bowel syndrome. The primary difference is the absence of inflammation in irritable bowel syndrome. However, irritable bowel syndrome is usually connected to stress. Therefore, managing stress can be directly beneficial to symptom relief to IBS sufferers.
Symptoms of IBD
- Eye inflammation
- Extreme fatigue
- Intestinal scarring
- Joint pain
- Rectal bleeding
- Weight loss
Symptoms of IBS
- Abdominal pain
Gladiator Therapeutics Offers IBD Relief
The Gladiator Therapeutics Far Infrared Blanket uses the far infrared technology to safely improve circulation which reduces the inflammation that can add to the painful symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease. While there is no known cure for IBD, the painful symptoms can be addressed. Gladiator Blanket users who suffer from Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis have reported reductions in the frequency and duration of their flare-ups. With fewer flare-ups, they were able to regain a higher quality of life.