Tackling the Rising Burden of Inflammatory Bowel Disease in India

by Dr. M P Madhu

What is IBD?

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is caused by ulcers in the small and large intestines. This leads to inflammation, swelling and irritation of the digestive tract. IBD is a long-term condition and patients need regular medications and follow-up to control symptoms and to maintain quality of life. Aster RV Hospital, Bangalore offers holistic treatment for gastrointestinal problems using modern and holistic treatment approaches and advanced procedures. All the doctors are highly trained and have several years of experience in treating IBD.

Elaborating on the IBD prevalence in India, Dr. M P Madhu - Consultant Gastroenterology said “There has been a rising prevalence of IBD in the last two decades in India owing to rapid urbanization and adaptation of westernized diet. We see about 2-3 patients daily in our OPD. It can occur at any age, although mostly diagnosed in the first and second decades of life. Therefore, it can affect the quality of life of young people. The second peak is seen in the elderly in the sixth or seventh decades of life.”

Symptoms of IBD

The most common symptoms of IBD include diarrhoea, blood in stool, abdominal pain, weight loss, low haemoglobin, fatigue, malabsorption, etc. For some IBD is a mild disease, however, in many patients, it can present with life-threatening complications like bowel obstruction, perforation and fistula. IBD comprises two conditions, namely ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn’s disease (CD). UC involves only the large intestine whereas CD can involve any part of the digestive tract from mouth to anus. Therefore, CD is more debilitating for patients.

IBD is often confused with irritable bowel disease or syndrome, also commonly known as IBS, another GI condition, having similar symptoms. Irritable bowel disease is a functional disease and occurs due to a defect in the brain-gut axis with normal blood tests and colonoscopy. Whereas, IBD diagnosis can be confirmed with blood tests, colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopic examination and CT scan.

Speaking on the management options, Dr. M P Madhu - Consultant Gastroenterology said, “Treatment varies from patient to patient depending upon symptom presentation and their severity. Medications are commonly prescribed to control pain, inflammation, infection and diarrhoea. Diet and lifestyle changes also help to improve symptoms. Many patients may eventually require surgery when all other measures fail to relieve symptoms effectively.”


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