What is the difference between IBS and IBD?
Friends and acquaintances often notice that lately I have been following a fairly strict food diet (low FODMAPs) and usually ask me the reasons. When I say I have IBS, most people don’t know what it is, which is kind of strange considering 15% of the population suffers from it. Some people have heard about it, while others mistake this syndrome for IBD.
I have started to read about the difference between IBS and IBD and decided to create this post to point out the similarities and differences.
Although both IBS and IBD have similar acronyms and have some common symptoms too, they are quite different from each other.
IBS is therefore a SYNDROME, while IBD is a DISEASE. Let’s see the differences between the two.
A syndrome is a collection of signs and symptoms which are known to appear with each other, but without any known cause.
A disease however, is an identified and recognised disorder whose cause and prognosis is mainly identified and understood.
Please note, this doesn’t mean that syndromes are not dangerous and that only diseases are something to be worried about, both have to be treated and managed accordingly to avoid any complications.
IBD includes two conditions, Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative Colitis, both conditions of serious concern and which cause inflammation of the bowel.
IBS doesn’t cause inflammation, ulcers or damage to the bowel wall.
IBS could be caused by stress, as it is the result from an interaction between the brain and gut, however it is believed that stress does not cause IBD. There is narrowing of the intestines and ulceration plus inflammation of the bowel wall in IBD, however that don’t happen in IBS.
IBS patients might need to pass stool multiple times a day, but the total amount of stools passed remains consistent with the normal volume. However, IBD patients have diarrhea, increased volume of stools.
IBS may present with headache, alternating bouts of diarrhea and constipation, loss of appetite, nausea, bloating and fatigue.
IBD, also includes nausea and anxiety though, but with bloody stools, canker like sores in mouth, growth issues due to malnutrition as bowel wall gets damaged, fever, abdominal pain and weight loss.
Ulcerative colitis gets picked early due to bloody diarrhea, however Crohn’s disease sometimes gets skipped for few months, before it gets diagnosed due to vague symptoms and presentation.
Treatment of IBS and IBD
Although not 100% curable , both IBS and IBD are often treatable and controllable. Following some steps can help to reduce the frequency and severity of symptoms.
75% patients with IBS get their symptoms resolved, when they eat diet with low FODMAPs.
IBD patients can have multiple small meals rather than huge main meals to reduce symptoms.
Sometimes drugs and medications are needed for relieving the symptoms. Drugs used to treat IBD are mainly antibiotics, antidiarrheal and immunomodulator medicines.
IBS don’t need any surgery at all, however, IBD patients might require surgery to remove the defected and symptomatic portion of the bowel to relieve their symptoms.
Stress aggravates both IBD and IBS, so managing stress and other psychological issues, can be really helpful in keeping patients symptoms in control.
This has helped me to clarify a little bit the differences between IBS and IBD, I hope it has helped you too.
Until next time take good care.
Please note that I’m not a doctor, a nutritionist, a registered dietitian and neither a fitness expert. In this blog I am sharing my experience with IBS, with food and life. This is purely my experience and it is not my intention to give you advice. When it comes to your health and fitness, consult your GP and do your research