Diagnosis of Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Inflammatory bowel disease is a disorder which can be characterized by its symptoms of chronic abdominal pain, bloating, and discomfort. If you believe that you may have IBD, then there are several ways in which you can be diagnosed.
The first step in diagnosing IBD is checking for presence of the common symptoms. Some of the most prominent symptoms are abdominal pain lasting up to 12 weeks or more, fever, rectal bleeding, weight loss, diarrhea and recurrent vomiting.
You may be asked questions about the consistency of your stool, if the frequency of your bowel movement has changed, if you commonly feel bloated or if you have noticed mucus in your stool. All of this is done in order to rule out other factors that may have caused the disease’s signs and symptoms to occur.
As part of the general diagnosis, the physician may also inquire about your family’s medical background, since inflammatory bowel disease can run in the family. If a member of your family has had problems with IBD before, then the chances of you being diagnosed with the disease is higher than normal.
Tests for Diagnosis
After basic and general diagnosis, if you are suspected to have IBD then several diagnostic tests may be performed to confirm and make a more detailed analysis.
The most basic diagnostic test is the stool test. You will be asked and prepared to provide a sample of your stool to test for an infection or signs of malabsorption. If the medical staff finds parasitic eggs in your stool, then it can be confirmed that your signs and symptoms are caused by a parasitic infection instead of IBD.
CT scans, or computerized tomography scans, are also used to provide the physician with X-rays of the cross sectional view of the patient’s internal organs. This is done in order to rule out other causes for symptoms, such as strictures, intra-abdominal abscesses and small bowel blockages, which may be the cause of bleeding and discomfort.
A colonoscopy may also be performed. This involves the examination of the length of the colon by means of a fiber optic camera passed through the anus. This allows for a visual diagnosis to check for polyps, ulcerations and signs of inflammation.
Lower GI series, also called barium enemas, can be used to examine both the rectum and the large intestine. Images are transferred digitally to the medical staff’s screens to observe for growths and polyps.
Applying Results of your Diagnosis
If you have been diagnosed with IBD, then you may be prescribed medicine to protect yourself from complications and to relieve symptoms before they cause damaging effects.
Anti-flammatory drugs are usually prescribed, to lower the inflammation caused by inflammation bowel disease. Pain killers may be given to you in cases of extreme abdominal discomfort, while tylenol is prescribed to lower fever. A dietician may also suggest an IBD-friendly diet, in order to prevent food items that may trigger discomfort and inflammation.
Going to regular visits and check-ups with your physician is an optimal way of ensuring your overall health. Minimizing the symptoms of IBD is easier than dealing with the complications of IBD. Check with your doctor regularly, and inform him/her whenever something feels wrong or different. Schedule regular check-ups with your physician, even after your IBD has been treated, in order to ensure that the disease does not reoccur. Catching the early symptoms of IBD may help early treatment, saving a potential patient from further pain and complication.