IBS vs. IBD: Do I have either of these; And how do I know?

There’s nothing worse than when your bodily functions start to challenge your daily routine. One minute you’re sitting there eating an apple while having a chat with a work colleague, then all of a sudden your bee-lining it for the nearest toilet before your stomach erupts onto the office floor. While you’re sitting on the toilet, you’re trying to figure out what the hell just happened. Was it the fibrous fruit that you had just eaten? Or are you nervous about the meeting that you have in thirty minutes? You try to ignore the problem, but you keep enduring the same scenario for the next week. 

Let’s chat about butt problems!

We’ve all got a butt, and believe it or not but our butts all do the same thing; they poop. Sometimes the poop can be different textures and smells, but those poops determine whether we have a happy gut, or not so happy gut! So while you’re busy squirming at the idea of poop, be thankful that our body excretes something that can help determine whether we’re healthy or not. 

Firstly, determining the severity of your problem is pivotal.

In some cases, these problems will not go away unless you’re prescribed to the right medication to alleviate symptoms. This is very important to know so that you don’t end up hospitalized. Hopefully, this isn’t the case for you.

So what could be the problem down there, and how do you determine it?

In most cases, if you’re dealing with digestive problems, you will most likely have these symptoms:

  • Urgent need to go to the toilet
  • Bloated stomach
  • Pains in stomach
  • Constipation 
  • Diarrhea 
  • Nausea 
  • Change in bowel habits. 

Now, it’s very important to note that the severity of your situation ends with either having blood in your stool or not having blood in your stool. Let’s further explore this. 

What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

Irritable Bowel Syndrome is the most common digestive disorder. And it does not involve blood. According to the ‘International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorder,’ it affects 10-15% of adults. It usually includes the large intestine and small intestine. These gut related activities are regulated by the brain, hence why IBS is labeled as a gut-brain disorder. The symptoms encompass everything written above. IBS is considered to be a chronic condition that you’ll need to manage long term, however not life-threatening. 

Studies suggest that only a small number of people who have IBS deal with severe symptoms, which require medical attention. Most can control their symptoms though managing their diet, lifestyle, and stress (which we will explore in another article). Finally, IBS is not a condition that progresses into something worse. 

Less common but still very apparent is, Inflammatory Bowel Disease. (IBD) It is most commonly known as Crohns Disease or Ulcerative Colitis. Both these diseases cause inflammation of the bowel and they’re not a good time! They both deal with similar symptoms to IBS.

So how do we determine the difference between IBS and IBD without having a colonoscopy?

When you have an IBD, your digestive tract becomes inflamed and your bowel will start to produce blood in your stool. You will either recognize this by peering into the toilet, alternatively, it will show up on your toilet paper! This is extremely important to note. 

If there is blood, don’t freak out! It is, however, important to take the situation seriously, so that you can get treated with the right medical attention. 

Let’s chat about symptoms of IBD.

Crohns Disease is a chronic illness that involves the intestine becoming inflamed and causing ulcerated marks. Typically, it starts in the lower part of the small intestine, although can affect any part of the digestive organs (stomach, esophagus, both intestines, etc.). Some of the symptoms can include: 

  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Weight loss
  • Fever
  • Abdominal pain and tenderness (often on the right side of the lower abdomen)
  • The feeling of a mass or fullness in the lower, right abdomen

Whereas, Ulcerative Colitis affects only the last intestine, and attacks the inner layer of the colon over and over again. The inflammation begins in the rectum and can spread to other segments of the colon, if not treated accurately! The symptoms for Ulcerative Colitis are:

  • Diarrhea
  • Severe bloody diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Sometimes fever. 

So if your 99 problems encompass butt issues and have been for the past few weeks/months, go and see a gastroenterologist to get a blood test, stool samples or colonoscopy. Even though Google is a great tool to access information especially when dealing with stigmatized ‘butt problems,’ it does not diagnose the problem effectively. 

Don’t be afraid of having the conversation and go and get checked! 

The above content is provided for informational and educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice or diagnosis and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. moxie shall not be liable for any claim, loss, or damage arising out of the use of, or reliance upon any content or information in this article.

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