While the main cause of IBD is unknown, there are several factors that increase someone’s risk of having IBD, these are:
- Smoking: studies have shown an increased risk of IBD, particularly Crohn’s disease in individuals who smoke.
- Hygiene: exceptional cleanliness and less exposure to enteric bacteria early in life can increase the risk of IBD in subsequent years.
- Medication: prolonged use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), antibiotics, oral contraceptives and others can increase the risk of IBD.
- Diet: dietary fat has been shown to increase the risk of IBD. A western diet high in fast food, sugar, and low in fibre increases the risk of IBD.
- Stress: stress may trigger the relapse of IBD.
How is Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) diagnosed?
There are a number of ways in which IBD can be diagnosed, a combination of these tests will be used for an accurate diagnosis.
These tests are:
- Stool test: checks for any other causes for your symptoms such as a viral or bacterial infection. It is also used to check for microscopic traces of blood.
- Blood test: checks for anaemia and for the presence of infection.
- Computed tomography scan (CT-scan): non-invasive diagnostic imaging tool that uses a combination of x-rays and computer technology to produce cross-sectional, horizontal, or axial images of our body.
- Endoscopic ultrasound: ultrasound uses an echoendoscope, which is an endoscope with an ultrasound probe at one end. It is a minimally invasive procedure that can identify any abnormalities in or near the gastrointestinal tract.
- Sigmoidoscopy: used to examine the insides of the rectum and anus.
- Gastroscopy: a thin and flexible tube with a camera and light attached at one end, is inserted into the mouth and led down through the oesophagus, into your stomach and your small intestine for a proper examination.
- Colonoscopy: a thin and flexible tube with a camera and light attached at one end, is inserted into the anus and led up through the rectum and large intestine for a proper examination.
- Capsule endoscopy: a small camera is swallowed which will take pictures of your gastrointestinal tract as it travels through.
- Barium swallow: you swallow liquid that helps your digestive tract light up during a special type of x-ray known as a fluoroscopy.
What are the treatment options for IBD in Singapore?
IBD can be treated using medications and surgery. It depends on your symptoms and their severity.
- Antibiotics: used to treat bacterial infection
- Aminosalicylates: minimizes intestinal irritation
- Corticosteroids: prevents the immune system from over-reacting
- Biologics: interrupts signals from the immune system that cause inflammation
- Immunomodulators: prevents the immune system from over-reacting
- Removes the diseased part of the gastrointestinal tract
- Joins the healthy parts back together
- Ileal pouch or ileostomy (collects stool)