A little refresher on what IBS- Irritable Bowel Syndrome is:
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can go by many different names including nervous stomach, spastic colon, irritable colon and can be categorized into different types of IBS depending on which symptoms you are experiencing. Some people experience IBS with diarrhea (IBS-D), IBS with constipation (IBS-C), or IBS with a mix of both diarrhea and constipation (IBS-M).
Both IBS and Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD) share many symptom similarities, including abdominal cramping, pain, and at times diarrhea. Currently, one of the main differences to note between IBS and IBD is that IBS does not appear to increase your risk of colon cancer, whereas IBD does increase your risk of colon cancer. Let’s learn a little bit more about IBD now.
The main types of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) include chronic, inflammatory conditions that affect the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. The two main types of IBD are Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis (UC), for which there are no known cures for.
Crohn’s Disease is a lifelong disease that can cause flare-ups in the small and large intestines, causing abdominal cramps and diarrhea. The typical age of diagnosis is between 15 and 30 years with an estimated greater than 500,000 Americans currently living with this disease.
People with Crohn’s are at an increased risk of developing colon cancer, bowel obstruction, abscesses, amongst other serious complications. Although the exact etiology is unknown, it is more likely to develop in individuals with a family history of IBD, a history of smoking, and in individuals between the ages of 20-29 years.
Ulcerative Colitis (UC) is another serious lifelong disease that impacts the mucosa of the colon, leading to symptoms that may include abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and bloody stools. The typical age of diagnosis is similar to Crohn’s, between 15 and 30 years of age, with an estimated 1 in every 250 people in North America and Europe suffering from UC.
People with UC are at an increased risk of arthritis, liver disease (cirrhosis), continuous lesions of the colon, and an increased risk of colon cancer. Individuals with a family history of IBD, a history of frequent NSAID usage (such as ibuprofen), a history of consuming a high-fat diet, who are between the ages of 15-30 or are over 60, or are Jewish are more likely to develop UC.
Individuals suffering from IBD are at high risk of undernutrition due to the malabsorption risks and decreased intake that can come with GI symptoms of the chronic conditions, such as nausea, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. Decreased intake and subsequent nutrient losses must be monitored closely to ensure any nutrient deficiencies are prevented or corrected.
Dietary recommendations for all individuals suffering from IBS and IBD must be individualized to determine which foods are the most beneficial for each person. Registered/Licensed Dietitians are qualified nutrition experts that can help create these individualized plans. If you are someone who has a nervous stomach, these product recommendations might be helpful: