Inflammatory Bowel Disease - Consumer Justice Foundation

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Written by Andrew Sarski on February 8, 2011
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Symptoms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Crohn’s disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease which affects any part of the gastrointestinal tract; ulcerative colitis is similar but primarily affects the colon and rectum. Common symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Frequent and bloody diarrhea
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Vomiting

Further complications associated with this type of disease include dehydration, a drop in blood pressure, rapid heart beat, anemia, constipation, fever and malnutrition. Sometimes inflammatory bowel diseases can also inexplicably cause complications outside the digestive system, including inflammation of the eyes, joints, liver and skin.

Many victims of inflammatory bowel disease experience long periods of time without symptoms followed by flare-ups, or period characterized by severe symptoms. The common symptoms of different inflammatory diseases are very similar, and two people with the same condition may suffer from more mild or severe symptoms, often making it difficult to distinguish between conditions like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. It is also sometimes difficult to diagnose IBD because some victims will show no symptoms of the disease, even if bowel damage has occurred over many years. Inflammatory bowel disease is typically diagnosed between an individual’s late teen years and early twenties, but it can appear at any age.

Treatment for IBD

Because of the severity and unpredictability of this kind of disease, it is difficult to determine what method of treatment, if any, are effective. Drug therapy is the main method of treatment for IBD, including use of anti-inflammatory drugs to decrease inflammation and immunosuppressive drugs to prevent the immune system from attacking the body’s own healthy tissues. A more aggressive treatment is surgery. Most doctors will avoid surgery to treat Crohn’s disease as the recurring nature of the disease will likely cause it to appear in the areas of the colon that aren’t removed. Also, surgery can cause further complications for Crohn’s, such as short bowel syndrome, a condition involving growth failure and the inability to absorb nutrients. Victims of ulcerative colitis however, may benefit from a surgical procedure called a colectomy in which the entire colon is removed. In fact, 10-40% of all cases of ulcerative colitis require this surgery. This procedure however, has a significant impact on an individual’s life as from now on, he must use an alternative method for removing waste from his body.

Complications for IBD Sufferers

The severity and longevity of inflammatory bowel disease can have a serious impact on the individual’s quality of life. For example, some people with this condition will experience extremely frequent bowel movements, sometimes as often as twenty times a day. This will significantly interfere with their normal lives on a daily basis. For those who choose to undergo a colectomy, they will be without a colon for the rest of their lives, requiring them to excrete waste either through the anus or through an opening in the side of the abdomen. Many individuals with IBD will have difficult decisions to make and most will suffer from symptoms of the condition for the majority of their lives.

Legal Help for Inflammatory Bowel Disease

The complications associated with all forms of inflammatory bowel disease can be devastating. It is estimated that 160,000 people suffer from ulcerative colitis and 80,000 from Crohn’s disease. These diseases have their own unique features, but both can cause severe, life-threatening complications. Victims of inflammatory bowel disease believed to be linked to pharmaceutical medications should contact a defective drug attorney immediately. Many claims of defective drug-related IBD have led to defective drug lawsuits and cases in which victims have been awarded millions of dollars in damages. If you or a loved one has suffered from inflammatory bowel disease caused by pharmaceutical drugs, a defective drug lawyer can help you collect the compensation you deserve.

Posted Under: Drug Side Effects
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