Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) in Washington

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Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is an overarching term to describe inflammation in your digestive tract. IBD is generally classified into two similar but separate diseases:

  • Crohn’s disease: Crohn's disease creates uncomfortable irritation of your digestive tract, namely your colon. It is usually found at the end of the small intestine, the beginning of the colon, and can affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract from the mouth to the anus.
  • Ulcerative colitis: Ulcerative colitis also manifests itself through irritation of the colon but is usually accompanied by ulcerations in the tissue. It is restricted to the large bowel.

The gastrointestinal providers at Washington Gastroenterology routinely identify and handle IBD. If you believe you could be struggling with this problem and are seeking care for inflammatory bowel disease in Washington, please get in touch with our team to find a gastrointestinal expert near you.

IBD is often characterized as an immune system issue. Just like when your body properly activates your immune system to deal with a virus or bacteria, an abnormal immune system response can fight the cells in the digestive tract. As a result, parts of the small bowel and colon become irritated. IBD maintains a genetic factor and can be passed down from parent to child. Risk factors for inflammatory bowel disease include:

  • Geography: Living in a well-developed region and/or northern areas may increase the risk of developing IBD
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen
  • Smoking
  • Age: The majority of patients diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease are lower than the age of 30
  • Family history: Inflammatory bowel disease is linked to being passed down genetically
  • Race or ethnicity: Inflammatory bowel disease is most common in Caucasians and people of Ashkenazi Jewish descent but can affect anyone

Symptoms of IBD will vary based on the condition and its intensity. The common symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal distress
  • Fever
  • Blood in the stool
  • Stomach distress
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Rectal soreness
  • Rash
  • Loss of normal menstrual cycle
  • Mouth sores
  • Constipation
  • Sudden loss of weight
  • Urgency to defecate
  • Discomfort or drainage in the area around the anus
  • Joint discomfort or stiffness
  • Unexplained weight loss

We encourage you to contact a Washington Gastroenterology gastroenterologist should you see a shift in bowel habits or experience any combination of the above symptoms. Contact a nearby GI location in Washington today to request an appointment.

Depending on your symptoms, your provider may use various approaches to diagnose your inflammatory bowel disease. A colonoscopy or an endoscopy is commonly utilized to identify IBD. In some instances, alternative imaging assessments, such as MRI, X-ray, or CT, will be conducted.


The main treatment goal is to reduce the inflammation in your gastrointestinal tract to relieve or reduce symptoms. Treatment could, over time, result in the long-term remission of inflammatory bowel disease. IBD treatment options include:

  • Iron supplements
  • Enteral nutrition (liquid supplements)
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs targeted at an overactive immune system
  • Surgery
  • Antibiotics
  • Anti-diarrheal medications
  • Vitamin D and calcium supplements
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inflammatory bowel disease genetic?

For some people, genetic factors can impact the development of IBD. However, a patient might be genetically inclined to developing inflammatory bowel disease but not ever get the condition. The genetic risk for disease development is greater with Crohn’s disease when compared with ulcerative colitis.

Can having inflammatory bowel disease raise the chance of developing cancer?

Being diagnosed with IBD does not automatically mean an individual will have cancer. However, having the disease could raise the risk of colorectal cancer development. Controlling the disease appropriately and managing inflammation could help lessen the cancer risk. Consult your Washington Gastroenterology gastrointestinal specialist to learn more about the risk of developing cancer when you have IBD.

Does diet and nutrition have an impact on inflammatory bowel disease?

Incorporating certain dietary changes might help lessen some of the symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease. This might entail not eating foods that tend to elicit diarrhea, gas, bloating, and abdominal pain, among other troublesome symptoms. Our gastroenterology provider can help you identify a dietary approach ideal for your health.

Does IBD ever go away?

Unfortunately, there is no known cure for IBD. But there may be instances when the disease is not active and is in remission. Inflammatory bowel disease and its symptoms may be addressed and controlled via medications, supplements, and dietary changes.

IBD is not a deadly condition. However, when out of control and untreated, with time, a person with IBD might experience complications that could be fatal. Moreover, leaving IBD uncared for could lead to a higher chance of developing colon cancer. As a physician-led group of GI specialists, Washington Gastroenterology provides treatment to help manage the signs and improve the lives of those with IBD. To receive help for IBD in Washington, please get in touch with a GI practice in your community today.

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