Bowel Diseases Including Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Diverticulosis & Celiac Disease
Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is a group of inflammatory conditions of the large intestine and, in some cases, the small intestine. Two common forms of IBD are:
Crohn’s disease is a chronic disorder that causes inflammation of the digestive or gastrointestinal (GI) tract. It most commonly affects the small intestine and/or the colon. The lining of the bowel becomes inflamed and can become ulcerated. Eventually, the bowel may become narrowed or obstructed. Crohn’s often occurs in families. The body’s immune system, which normally protects the body against many different infections, is altered in Crohn’s disease.
Ulcerative colitis is a chronic inflammatory condition that involves only the colon. It is similar to Crohn’s disease in that it involves an abnormal response by the body’s immune system. Cases that can’t be diagnosed as either ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease are called indeterminate colitis.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
IBS is a disorder involving the movement of the bowel (intestines). In IBS, the nerves and muscles in the bowel are overly sensitive. The disorder is most often identified by its symptoms: abdominal pain or discomfort associated with a change in bowel pattern, such as loose or frequent bowel movements, diarrhea or constipation. IBS is a functional disorder, which means the bowel doesn’t function correctly (vs. a problem with the structure of the bowel).
As people age, pressure within the colon causes bulging sacs of tissue that push out from the colon walls (one sac is a diverticulum, and more than one are diverticula). These sacs are most common near the end of the colon called the sigmoid colon. The condition of having diverticula in the colon is called diverticulosis, which may have few or no symptoms. If a diverticulum becomes infected or inflamed, it is called diverticulitis.
Bowel Disorders and Nutrition
Nutritional disorders can develop when the body can’t digest the nutrients it takes in (malabsorption). Nutritional disorders can also result from eating too little or too much food, or from eating too little or too much of a particular nutrient (vitamin or mineral) .
Celiac disease is an inherited disorder that causes damage to the small intestine and interferes with the absorption of nutrients. People who have celiac disease cannot tolerate gluten, a protein found in cereal grains such as wheat, rye and barley.