If you are one of the three million Americans who lives with inflammatory bowel disease, you have your good days and bad days. Sometimes a good day can turn into a bad one without warning. Yes, IBD can be managed with medications, but once they stop working as efficiently as they once did, what’s the answer? When is it time for inflammatory bowel disease surgery?
What Makes Inflammatory Bowel Disease So Hard To Live With?
IBD creates chronic inflammation in your gut – your digestive tract. The two main conditions are Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease.
With ulcerative colitis you develop sores and inflammation in the lining of your large intestine and rectum. Crohn’s Disease can cause extensive inflammation throughout your entire intestinal tract from your mouth to your anal canal.
The symptoms of these two conditions are similar, sometimes overlap, and can be debilitating.
Living with diarrhea or constipation, rectal bleeding, stomach cramps, gas, bowel urgency, loss of appetite, weight loss, and abdominal pain makes it difficult for someone to work, go to school, or even go out of the house.
Other symptoms of flares can include fever, fatigue, and joint pain.
There are medications to manage inflammation and reduce the symptoms of IBD.
Some of them include:
- Antibiotics for infections and abscesses
- Anti-inflammation medicines
- Biologics that interrupt signals from the immune system causing inflammation
- Corticosteroids like prednisone to manage flares
These meds work well – until they don’t!
When Is It Time For Surgery?
Only you can answer this question in consultation with Digestive Health Services. If you have made lifestyle changes, altered your diet, your symptoms are becoming more severe, and medications are no longer working, it may be time to consider surgery.
7 in 10 people with Crohn’s Disease eventually have surgery.
After many years of living with ulcerative colitis, 1 in 3 people opt for surgery.
Since ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s Disease affect different parts of the gastrointestinal tract, the surgical procedure for each condition is different.