If you have been diagnosed with one of these diseases, do not despair. We invited a gastroenterologist to answer the main questions on the subject.
abdominal cramps, diarrheablood on the stool, weight loss and sugar are some of the major symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease, IBDs. These conditions cause inflammation of part or all of the gastrointestinal tract, and can have a variety of etiologies, that is, the cause. These include factors related to industrialized foods, family trends, the body’s defense system, or bacteria that are part of the intestinal environment.
They can appear in any age group, but the frequency is higher between the ages of 20 and 40, although there has been an increase in cases among children and the elderly in recent years.
THE ulcerative colitis affects the large intestine (two points) yes straight, which has the most superficial inflammatory process. The most common symptoms of the day are the urge to go to the bathroom (poly bowel movements), usually removing mucus and blood; a keen urge to have bowel movements, but with a feeling that there has been no complete emptying (tenesmus); and the urgency of evacuation.
THE Crohn’s disease it can appear from the mouth to the anus and perianal region with the appearance of fistulas, which is an abnormal canal that normally connects two unconnected structures. Its main feature is that it has a deeper inflammatory process, which causes injuries. Symptoms are similar to ulcerative colitis and, in some special conditions, when the intestinal structures become constricted (stenosis), the clinical onset may be constipation and abdominal distension.
Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease can cause other types of symptoms, such as joint and back pain, and skin, eye, and musculoskeletal problems.
For those living with one of these diseases, the effects are many. according to a search In 2017, conducted by the Brazilian Association of Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease (ABCD), 43% of the patients interviewed felt deprived of fulfilling their potential in their studies or work.
Symptoms of fatigue, for example, were present in 80% of cases, although the disease was in remission. Other manifestations, such as anxiety, depression and sadness affects about 50% of patients, and illness can lead to poor quality of life when not treated properly.
“Imagine waking up in the morning and going to the bathroom five times with diarrhea, mucus and blood. How do you get on the bus and get to work? In your work, is there privacy in the toilets? These are diseases that have a biopsychosocial impact on the patient’s life, as they end up being isolated for fear of becoming ill or suffering, ”explained Dr. Marta Brenner Machado, President of ABCD.
On the other hand, the gastroenterologist points out that with the right treatment and the necessary information, a patient with ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease can return to normal. “When the disease is under control, the patient is able to return to eating without restriction, to do sports, to recover the social aspect. In short, a return to quality of life, ”says the specialist.
I received the diagnosis. And now?
According to the doctor. Marta, the first steps are to establish a good medical-patient relationship, to understand the disease, to clear up any doubts and uncertainties, and from there to accept the disease and start the right treatment. In order to be properly treated, IBDs must be individualized, taking into account all the characteristics of the patient.
Both diseases can be mild, moderate, severe or fulminant. This classification is based on clinical, laboratory, endoscopic, nutritional, and digestive tract location.
“It’s not enough to say that you have Crohn’s disease or rectocolitis at a doctor’s appointment. , the specialist pointed out.
The next time you go to the professional, Dr. Marta recommends writing all the questions on a spreadsheet without fear of being asked. Some suggestions:
- What tests are needed to make a correct diagnosis?
- How do you know if your symptoms indicate an emergency?
- How many times do you need to return to follow-up?
- Is there a regular test that should be done?
- What is the therapeutic plan for the disease?
See also: Inflammatory bowel disease in 5 questions Rogério Saad
How is the treatment?
Because there is no cure for ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, the treatment is to block the inflammatory jump and thus reduce the seizures until the individual enters remission. That is, until complete healing has occurred, with no symptoms and with the normalization of laboratory tests.
“That’s the success of treatment. He is a patient who returns to a completely normal life with his work, leisure and study plans. Life goes on, ”said Dr. Marta.
Therapeutic lines usually use oral medications such as corticosteroids, sulfasalazine, and mesalazine, especially for cases that affect the colon lightly or moderately. In some cases, immunosuppressants such as azathioprine and methotrexate are used. In recent years, there has been significant therapeutic progress with the advent of biologic therapies, which have revolutionized the management of these diseases.
Each case must be properly examined and examined to determine which treatment will be used. In some situations, surgery is necessary.
The gastroenterologist emphasizes the importance of medical follow-up and adherence to treatment. In Brazil and around the world, there are multidisciplinary teams specializing in the care of these diseases.
See also: Crohn’s disease Interview
When will I start noticing treatment results?
“There is no specific date for the admission of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis to remission, it depends on the severity and duration of the disease,” the ABCD president noted. If the condition is mild or moderate, it is expected that the results will begin to appear within a few weeks. If it gets worse, it may take a few months, but regular medical follow-up will be essential to determine if everything is as planned or if treatment needs to be changed.
“But the most important thing, especially for the seriously ill, is to know that the improvement is gradual. Today, in Brazil, we have a number of treatment options that can help the individual recover and get rid of the disease, ”said the gastroenterologist.
Should I change my diet?
One of the biggest concerns of people with ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease is intestinal disease.
Dr. Marta emphasizes the importance of nutrition monitoring to adapt the right foods at each stage of the disease.
“We basically recommend a healthy diet that is balanced with vegetables, fruits, carbs and protein. It is advisable to avoid foods that are high in fat, sugar or preservatives, so-called inflammatory foods, as they can damage the already diseased mucosa. Balanced meals that are basic and suitable for the individual are essential, ”says the specialist.
See also: DrauzioCast # 44 | Healthy eating
In addition to the doctor, who can help during treatment?
Ulcerative colitis and the treatment of Crohn’s disease are essential in not being alone. Find out who can help make this process easier:
- Patient associations: Today, there are several organizations in Brazil that include patients with IBD, such as ABCD itself. Through campaigns, meetings, and actions, they exchange experiences and provide the support they need to continue treatment. Today, there are local associations of IBD patients in almost every state and municipality. Find the one closest to your home.
- Friends and family: Families and loved ones are also very important pillars during the process, as they can provide emotional support during difficult times.
- Psychologists, psychiatrists and social workers: Sometimes the help of specialized professionals is needed. Consulting a psychologist or psychiatrist helps you learn to deal with and deal with diagnosis and treatment in a more positive way, understanding that life sickness will not be shortened.
- Multidisciplinary team: Doctors in other specialties who are well acquainted with the disease may also contribute to the effectiveness of the treatment by reassuring the patient. This is the case, for example, with coloproctologists, rheumatologists, ophthalmologists, nutritionists and physiotherapists.
“Those of you who have had this disease for a long time, help those who are just starting out. Schedule an appointment. Trust your doctor and do not stop treatment. Know that there is a solution for all kinds of diseases, ”encourages Dr. Marta.
Content in collaboration with Takeda Biopharmaceutical https://www.takeda.com/pt-br/
C-ANPROM / BR / GEN / 0010 – May / 2022 – Material for the general public
See also: Intestinal function Interview
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