IBS And IBD – What’s The Difference?

You hear a lot of talk about both Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). Some might assume they’re the same thing, since their names and symptoms are so similar, but they are very different conditions. If you are affected by chronic or regular GI discomfort, it is important to visit Concorde Gastroenterology to determine the source of your discomfort, to get an accurate diagnosis, and to determine the correct course of treatment.

How Do I Know If I Have IBS Or IBD?

Most patients visit their doctor for a diagnosis once they’ve experienced persistent symptoms of the diseases. These symptoms are focused in the gut and might include abdominal pain and bloating, diarrhea, fatigue, bloody stool, or even unexplained weight loss and loss of appetite. Once examined by the doctor, the cause of the pain and discomfort can be determined.

Although some symptoms overlap, IBS and IBD are actually very different. IBS is the less severe of the two and has no known physical cause. It is diagnosed based on a collection of symptoms that are brought on by something unexplained in the body. On the other hand, IBD is more serious and is an actual structural disease, meaning there is physical evidence for the disease within the body. It can be diagnosed through x-ray, endoscopy, surgery, or biopsy. It is the collective name for ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, and is caused by inflammation within the layers of the digestive tract and gut.

What Happens After I Get A Diagnosis?

Once your doctor determines the cause of your irritation, the treatment paths will vary. There is currently no known cure for either IBS or IBD, but most IBS patients will be able to manage their symptoms and learn how to live a relatively normal life with simple lifestyle changes, avoiding food triggers, and medications designed to control the associated diarrhea or constipation. It is also recommended to keep a food and activity journal to determine if certain things trigger symptoms. Many patients find relief through a well-managed diet and exercise program. For patients with IBD, certain medications might help reduce swelling and may bring about remission. It is important to stress that IBD is a serious condition that requires regular monitoring by your gastroenterologist. Contact Concorde Gastroenterology today to determine the cause of your bowel and digestive difficulties and let us help you with the diagnosis and treatment.

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