Lack of awareness about the condition and its seriousness in India, says IMA
New Delhi, 27 July 2017: Statistics indicate that about 50 lakh people around the world have IBD or inflammatory bowel disease. In India, the number of cases exceed 12 lakh annually. However, there is not much awareness on the seriousness and symptoms of this disease in the country. As per the IMA, this is a chronic relapsing condition wherein the symptoms can be managed with a combination of care, medication, hospitalization, and sometimes surgical intervention.
IBD is an umbrella term for two diseases namely Ulcerative Colitis (UC) and Crohn's disease. The incidence of UC is very high in India when compared to Crohn's disease. While Crohn’s can affect any part of the digestive system, UC affects only the rectum and the colon.
Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee Dr K K Aggarwal, National President Indian Medical Association (IMA) and President Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) and Dr RN Tandon – Honorary Secretary General IMA in a joint statement, said, “IBD can be a painful and debilitating condition. If left undetected and untreated, it can lead to serious complications such as fistula intestinal obstruction, bowel dysfunction, and even colon cancer. UC causes long-lasting inflammation in a part of the digestive tract. It occurs only through continuous stretches of the colon and the symptoms show up over time. Crohn’s disease, on the other hand, causes inflammation anywhere along the lining of the digestive tract, spreading deep into affected tissues eventually. This further causes abdominal pain, severe diarrhea, and even malnutrition. Surgery may be required in those with Crohn’s disease to remove a damaged or diseased part of the intestine. Sometimes, the entire large intestine is removed, with or without the rectum.”
Some symptoms of inflammation of the intestinal tract include diarrhea, rectal bleeding, urgent need to move bowels, abdominal cramps and pain, sensation of incomplete evacuation, and constipation (which can lead to bowel obstruction). There could also be other general symptoms such as fever, loss of appetite, weight loss, fatigue, night sweats, and loss of normal menstrual cycle.
Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, said, “IBD is generally treated with anti-inflammatory drugs which are special derivatives of 5 ASA derivatives. These are used either orally or through enema, corticosteroids, immunosuppressants, biological agents, antibiotics, anti-diarrheal drugs, and laxatives. Regular treatment and frequent tests are imperative.”
IBD can be controlled through certain lifestyle modifications as follows.
- Identify the triggers For some these triggers could be food such as dairy products. Identifying the foods that trigger the symptoms and avoiding them is crucial.
- Go for less gassy foods Avoid beans, cabbage, and cauliflower as these can cause gas. Consume more of foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
- Eat smaller meals This will help your digestive system to adjust better to the condition.
- Keep yourself adequately hydrated Drink plenty of water and other fluids. However, limit the consumption of caffeine and alcohol.