Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
- The gastrointestinal system
- Types of inflammatory bowel disease
- Supportive care
Anatomy of the gastrointestinal system
The gastrointestinal tract (GIT) consists of a hollow muscular tube starting from the oral cavity, where food enters the mouth, continuing through the pharynx, oesophagus, stomach and intestines to the rectum and anus, where food is expelled.
For more information, see Gastrointestinal System.
Digestion is the process by which the gastrointestinal system retrieves important nutrients for the body and chemically changes the unused food into waste. Mastication, or the chewing of food in the mouth, is the first step of digestion. Proteins, fats and carbohydrates are chemically broken down in the stomach and absorbed in the small intestine. The large intestine plays a key role in reabsorbing excess water.
View the animation Digestion.
Overview of inflammatory bowel disease
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) refers to a group of conditions characterised by recurring inflammation of the gastrointestinal organs. The two main types of IBD are ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. These are caused by immune system dysfunction. There are also a few other conditions that fall under the banner of IBD, but which do not involve immune system dysfunction.
For more information, see Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Overview.
Crohn's disease is a chronic and relapsing inflammatory disorder that can affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract, from the mouth to the anus, as well as other organs of the body. The main pathological features of Crohn's disease are ulcers, connection of the bowel lumen with surrounding structures (fistulae) and scar tissue leading to narrowing of the bowel lumen.
For more information, see Crohn's Disease.
Ulcerative colitis is a chronic systemic inflammatory disorder. Gastro-intestinal involvement is limited to the large intestine compared with Crohn's Disease which can affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract. Ulcerative colitis usually causes inflammation of the rectum and then extends further-up to involve various degrees of the colon. Sometimes it is limited to just a small section of the left-hand side of the colon.
For more information, see Ulcerative Colitis.
Video: Dr Joe Kosterich explains ulcerative colitis
There are a number of causes of abdominal illnesses, and one of the ones that is quite serious – treatable, but less common – is ulcerative colitis. Dr Joe Kosterich talks about ulcerative colitis, including what it is, what its symptoms are, how it is diagnosed and how it is treated.
Watch the video Ulcerative Colitis.
Video: Dr Andrew Day talks about Crohn's and colitis in children
In children Crohn's disease can lead to malnutrition, iron-deficiency anaemia, growth retardation and even delays in puberty. Dietary therapy is particularly important in the management of this disease in children. Steroid treatments may be used but they can have serious side effects on growth and bone mineral density (occasionally leading to osteoporosis).
Watch the video Crohn's and Colitis in Children.
Crohn's & Colitis Australia
For more information, see Crohn's & Colitis Australia.
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|Created: 13/1/2011||Modified: 19/10/2011|
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