Is this what’s bugging your backside?
Pain in the abdomen, constipation, diarrhea or the urgent need to use the restroom may leave you wondering what’s bugging your backside.
Dr. Jan Kaminski, a colon and rectal surgeon at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago, sheds light on two conditions that may be to blame: Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
According to Dr. Kaminski, IBD is a spectrum of autoimmune diseases that range from ulcerative colitis to Crohn’s disease and cause the body to attacks its own organs, specifically related to the digestive tract. Those diagnosed with IBD also have an increased risk for colon cancer and will need colonoscopies earlier and more frequently.
IBS is a functional syndrome diagnosed when other organic or anatomic causes have been ruled out. There are different types of IBS, depending on each person’s specific symptoms.
But, although different, the two conditions share some symptoms.
“Similar symptoms include abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea and urgency,” says Dr. Kaminski. “However, multiple loose bloody bowel movements with abdominal pain are classic symptoms of IBD and not IBS. Fever, chills, nausea, vomiting and severe abdominal pain are symptoms that require immediate attention, and you should seek help right away.”
While symptoms can be similar, the treatment for each condition is not. It’s important for those experiencing these types of symptoms to see a specialist who can establish the right plan of care, especially if you have consistent and chronic abdominal pain, changes in bowel movements or bloody bowel movements. Even mild symptoms that last more than six months on a consistent basis could imply IBD or IBS, according to Dr. Kaminski.
“IBS can generally be managed with non-operative measures such as dietary modifications, dietary supplementation, lifestyle modifications and sometimes medication,” says Dr. Kaminski. “IBD usually requires lifelong medications that suppress the immune system, and sometimes, major surgery is required. However, with the appropriate management, people can live a normal life.”
So how can you prevent a bothered behind?
“Smoking has been associated with IBD, so smoking cessation is recommended both for IBD and as a general health measure,” says Dr. Kaminski. “Dietary modifications such as restricting lactose and gluten has been shown to help manage IBS, and consistent exercise has been shown to help improve symptoms of IBS.”
About the Author
Brittany Hunter, health enews contributor, is a specialist of public affairs and marketing at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago. She has a degree in Journalism from Ohio University and experience in communications, marketing and public strategies. She loves going to concerts, reading and exploring the city.