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What is Irritable Bowel Disease


Irritable bowel disease or IBD, is a disorder that affects the large intestine.

The two main types are ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Symptoms include abdominal pain, diarrhea, weight loss, and fatigue.

Treatment depends on the severity of the disease and may include lifestyle changes, medication, or surgery.

This article explains everything about IBD.  We discuss symptoms, causes and lifestyle changes you can make to cope with IBD.


Irritable Bowel Disease Symptoms

Irritable bowel disease (IBD) is a chronic (long-term) condition that affects the digestive system.

IBD can cause a range of symptoms as follows:


  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Gas and bloating
  • Loss of appetite
  • Mucus or blood in stool
  • Upset stomach

Some people with IBD also have other conditions, such as arthritis or eye problems.

If you have IBD, it is important to work with your healthcare team to manage your symptoms and prevent

If you think you might have irritable bowel disease, it’s important to see a doctor to get a diagnosis and treatment.

There are many ways to diagnose IBD, but the most common is through a colonoscopy. This is where a doctor inserts a small camera into your rectum and colon to look for any inflammation or ulcers.

Other ways to diagnose IBD include an upper GI endoscopy, CT scan, or MRI.

Irritable Bowel Disease Causes


IBD can be extremely debilitating and can cause a great deal of pain and discomfort.

There are several different theories about what causes IBD, but the exact cause is still not known.

It is thought that IBD is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

Some studies have shown that people with certain genetic mutations are more likely to develop IBD.

However, it is not clear why these mutations lead to the development of IBD. Environmental factors are most likely to play a role in the development of IBD.



Common Flare-up Management Techniques

If you have inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), you know that flare-ups can be frustrating.

While there is no cure for IBD, there are ways to manage your symptoms and prevent flare-ups.

Here are some flare-up management techniques: 

Follow A Healthy Diet
Eating a nutritious diet is important for everyone, but it’s especially important for people with IBD.

A healthy diet can help reduce inflammation and prevent flare-ups. Be sure to eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

And limit your intake of saturated fats, processed foods, and refined sugars.

Get Regular Exercise
If you have inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), you may be wondering if exercise is safe and whether it’s something you should be doing.

The short answer is yes, exercise is generally safe for people with IBD, and it offers a number of benefits.

Exercise can help reduce stress and fatigue, improve sleep, and increase your sense of well-being.

It can also help you maintain a healthy weight, which is important because being overweight or obese can make IBD symptoms worse.

There are many different medications that can be used to manage IBD flare-ups.


Pain Medication

Some of the most common medications include:

Anti-Inflammatory Drugs
These drugs can help to reduce inflammation in the intestines.

Immunosuppressive Drugs
These drugs can help to suppress the immune system and reduce inflammation.

These drugs can help to kill bacteria that may be causing the inflammation.

These live microorganisms can help to restore the balance of good bacteria in the intestines.

If you are experiencing a flare-up, it is important to talk to your doctor about which medications may be right for you.


Diet and Lifestyle Changes

If you live with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), you know that flares can be unpredictable and frustrating.  While there is no surefire way to prevent flares, there are some diet and lifestyle changes that may help.

Here are a few common flare-up management techniques to try:

Identify and avoid your trigger foods.
Different people with IBD have different trigger foods, so it’s important to figure out what yours are. Once you know what to avoid, it will be much easier to keep flares at bay.

Eat a well-balanced diet.
When you’re in a flare, it’s important to eat a nutritious diet to help your body heal.

Stress Management
Stress can be a common trigger for flare-ups in IBD. Learning some stress management techniques can help you to better control your symptoms.

Relaxation techniques such as yoga or meditation can help to calm the mind and the body. Identifying the things in your life that are causing you stress and finding ways to eliminate or reduce them can also be helpful. 




For some people with IBD, surgery is the best treatment option. IBD surgery can be used to remove part of the intestine (a procedure called resection) or the entire intestine (a procedure called colectomy).

Surgery can also be used to remove an abscess or fistula. Surgery is usually only considered when other treatments, such as medication, have not worked.

The Impact of IBD On Daily Life

IBD can have a significant impact on a person’s quality of life. The symptoms of IBD can be very disruptive to daily life.

Many people with IBD experience fatigue, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. These symptoms can make it difficult to work, exercise, or even go out in public.

This is why making lifestyle changes can be so beneficial for an IBD patient.


The Need for Changes in Lifestyle

If you are affected by inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), you know that the condition can have a major impact on your life.

IBD can be debilitating and can lead to a number of other health problems.

Making lifestyle changes is often a necessary part of managing IBD. These changes can be difficult, but they are often necessary to help control symptoms and prevent flares.

By making some lifestyle changes, you can take control of your IBD and improve your quality of life.

Work with your doctor to make some lifestyle changes and take control of your IBD.


Home Remedies For IBD

There are many different home remedies that people swear by for treating irritable bowel disease (IBD), and it can be tough to know which ones to try.

Some common home remedies include probiotics, peppermint oil, chamomile tea, and aloe vera juice.

Probiotics are live bacteria that can help to restore the balance of gut bacteria, which is often out of balance in people with IBD.
Peppermint oil has anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties, which can help to relieve symptoms of IBD.

Chamomile tea is a relaxing herbal tea that can help to reduce stress, which can trigger IBD symptoms.
Aloe vera juice is also thought to be beneficial for IBD patients as it can help to soothe the digestive tract.




It is important to work with your doctor to develop a pain management plan that is right for you. Don’t hesitate to ask for referrals to pain specialists or other health care providers if you need additional help.

Be sure to keep an open line of communication with your doctor to let them know what treatments are working and which are not.

Living with IBD can be challenging, but by working closely with your health care team and taking an active role in your disease management, you can find relief and lead a full, active life.

For any additional information regarding IBD, it’s best to find a trusted and experienced Gastroenterologist who can answer your questions clearly, recommend appropriate solutions, and perform tests with precision and expertise.

Dr. Deetlefs has earned the reputation of a trusted health expert providing consultative, diagnostic, and therapeutic endoscopic and related services to patients in Cape Town and beyond. 

Dr. Deetlefs can be contacted to confirm the estimated breakdown should you be interested in having the procedure done.


The information on this website is to provide general guidance. In no way does any of the information provided reflect definitive medical advice and self-diagnoses should not be made based on information obtained online. It is important to consult a Gastroenterologist or medical doctor regarding ANY and ALL symptoms or signs including, but not limited to: abdominal pain, haemorrhoids or anal / rectal bleeding as it may a sign of a serious illness or condition. A thorough consultation and examination should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call a physician or call our office today and schedule a consultation.

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© Dr. Eduan Deetlefs, Registered Gastroenterologist, GI Doc Cape Town

Our website information is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a doctor about your specific condition. Only a trained physician can determine an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment.