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What’s New What’s the Difference Between IBS vs. IBD?

What’s the Difference Between IBS vs. IBD?

Both IBS and IBD are chronic gastrointestinal disorders, and they both have similar symptoms. At the same time, they are distinctly different conditions. If that’s not confusing enough, a patient can have both. What’s the difference between IBS vs. IBD? Keep reading to distinguish between the two and get the right treatment..

Man laying in bed and suffering from a hurting stomach.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

IBD refers to a group of disorders including Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis. It is associated with lengthy inflammations in various parts of the digestive tract.

Ulcerative Colitis is a chronic condition that causes recurring inflammation in the mucosal layers (lining) of the colon. It can also involve the rectum.

Crohn’s Disease affects any part of the GI tract from your mouth to your anus.

IBD destroys the bowel wall leading to sores and narrowing of the intestines. There is no cure, but medications and other treatments can relieve symptoms.

Symptoms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease

The most common symptom of an IBD is diarrhea. In addition, abdominal cramps, bloody stool, blocked bowels, loss of bodily fluids and appetite, weight loss, fever, and anemia are other common symptoms.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

IBS affects the lower GI area, the small intestine, large intestine, and colon. This syndrome affects 10 to 15 percent of adults in the United States, primarily women. It is the most commonly diagnosed disorder by gastroenterologists like Digestive Health Services in Downers Grove, IL. It is what is known as a functional gastrointestinal disorder meaning there is a disturbance in bowel function. 

People with IBS are more likely to have other functional disorders like the following:

  • Fibromyalgia
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Chronic pelvic disorder
  • Temporomandibular joint disease like TMJ

Many patients in the past were told that their symptoms were from stress before being diagnosed. 

It has been found that 70% of IBS patients have had a severe food poisoning attack prior to diagnosis, and it may be the primary cause of the disorder.

Symptoms of IBS

Many of the symptoms of IBS overlap with those of IBD. It is critical to get the correct diagnosis because the treatments are different.

Abdominal pain is the main symptom which is described as cramping, throbbing, sharp or stabbing, and achy. Other symptoms include being gassy, bloated, having a swollen belly, nausea, and being alternately constipated and having diarrhea. 

The Bottom Line

Both of these disorders need the correct diagnosis and treatment. Both can have significant complications if they are not properly treated, and no one needs to live with these uncomfortable symptoms.

Contact Digestive Health Services at 630-434-9312 if you believe you could have IBD or IBS.

Request an Appointment Today!

Digestive Health Services, SC is a gastroenterology practice with four board certified and highly trained physicians.