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What are inflammatory bowel disorders?

Inflammatory bowel disease is the name given to a collection of disorders that cause inflammation of your intestines. The inflammation can vary. It may come and go, or never entirely go away. It may flare up when you least expect it.

These disorders come in two primary forms: Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Crohn’s disease causes ulcers in your digestive tract. Ulcerative colitis causes your large intestine to become red and swollen. Both lead to a range of uncomfortable symptoms.

Both Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis share some of the same symptoms. These include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach cramps
  • Blood in your stool
  • Abdominal pain that comes and goes
  • Low appetite
  • Unintended weight loss

With ulcerative colitis, you also may experience rectal pain or bleeding and have small, frequent bowel movements.

The medical world isn’t exactly sure why some people get inflammatory bowel disorders, although the diseases do run in families. Some scientists believe inflammatory bowel disorders are tied to a problem with the immune system. A normal immune system protects your body from infection. 

But with inflammatory bowel disorders, the immune system mistakenly treats healthy bacteria, food, and other substances in the intestines as foreign invaders. This causes your immune system to attack your intestine, leading to inflammation and other symptoms. 

Dr. Sidhu sits down with you to discuss your symptoms. She performs a physical exam and may recommend blood tests or take stool samples. She may suggest imaging tests, such as X-rays, a CT scan, or an MRI, to view your gastrointestinal tract.

In some cases, you may need a diagnostic procedure to take a look at your intestines and stomach. Once she’s pinpointed the reason for your symptoms, she recommends a comprehensive, integrative treatment plan to address your condition.

Dr. Sidhu emphasizes the benefits of functional medicine to improve your condition. She recommends effective lifestyle changes to minimize symptoms. These may include:

  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Limiting fiber
  • Avoiding dairy products
  • Forgoing caffeine, alcohol, and carbonated beverages

Besides making changes to your diet, she also recommends exercising, getting enough rest, and minimizing stress, which can make your intestinal problems worse.

For a whole-body, functional medicine approach to address inflammatory bowel disorders, call House of Healing today or schedule your consultation online.