CONDITIONS OF SPECIAL INTEREST
Management of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is an umbrella term for chronic digestive conditions that cause inflammation such as ulcerative colitis which causes ulcers in the large intestine and rectum, and Crohn's disease which causes inflammation of the lining in the entire digestive tract and can present with intestinal obstruction or intra-abdominal mass collections. Both these types of inflammatory bowel disease cause severe diarrhoea, chronic abdominal pain, fatigue and weight loss. While many people with inflammatory bowel disease struggle to deal with the symptoms and suffer from these chronic conditions, failure to manage IBD may lead to serious complications including malnutrition, dehydration, fistulas, a perforated colon, liver damage due to primary sclerosing cholangitis and colon cancer.
What are the related symptoms?
Depending on the severity of the condition, symptoms may range from mild to severe. Often, the symptoms come in waves of active and remission. Symptoms common to those who have Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis include:
- Fever and fatigue
- Abdominal pain
- Abdominal cramping
- Blood in your stool
- Reduced appetite
- Unexplained weight loss
IBD is also associated with non-digestive issues such as eye inflammation (episcleritis, uveitis), skin disorders (hidradenitis suppurativa) and arthritis. It is essential that those who may be experiencing these symptoms or a sudden change in your bowel movements, see a specialist gastroenterologist. For many with these symptoms, Dr Mokhele can give hope for management of the condition to prevent life-threatening complications and enhance their quality of life.
What causes inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)?
While the exact cause of inflammatory bowel disease is unknown, it is linked to genetics, environmental and the immune system. A faulty immune system which mistakenly attacks the digestive tract has been noted as a cause for the condition. When triggered by a viral infection, this response, called an autoimmune response, causing inflammation of the digestive tract.
How may inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) be treated or managed?
As a specialist Gastroenterologist, Dr Mokhele focuses treatment for inflammatory bowel disease on reducing the inflammation while enhancing the quality of life for his patients with Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis by promoting long-term remission. With special anti-inflammatory medications, the symptoms of the condition may be relieved while Dr Mokhele advises immune-suppressing medications to lower the autoimmune response and prevent flare-ups. Of course, when these drugs are used, a healthy lifestyle and medical precautions will be needed in order to avoid opportunistic infections from attacking the lowered immune system response.
In severe cases where lifestyle changes, drug therapy, or other treatments don't seem to work, surgery may be needed to remove the damaged parts of the digestive tract. In such cases, Dr Mokhele may refer you to a specialist surgeon.
Gastrocure, Eastern Cape
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