011 482-3010


IBD Explained

In this article we will touch base on everything IBD related and when you should see a doctor.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease, or IBD, is a group of chronic disorders that cause inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract. The two most common types of IBD are ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.

Symptoms of IBD can include abdominal pain, diarrhea, weight loss, and fatigue. IBD is often diagnosed by a combination of blood tests, stool tests, imaging tests, and endoscopy.

Treatment for IBD typically involves medications, such as anti-inflammatory drugs, immunosuppressants, and antibiotics. Surgery may also be necessary in some cases.



The symptoms of IBD can vary depending on the individual, but there are some common symptoms that are associated with the condition.

These include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Cramping
  • Diarrhea
  • Blood in the stool
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue

IBD can also lead to other complications, such as joint pain, skin problems, and eye issues.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to see a doctor so that they can properly diagnose and treat you.



There are many different types of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), each with their own set of potential causes.

The two most common types of IBD are ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.

The most common type of IBD, Crohn’s disease, is thought to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

Researchers believe that Crohn’s disease is caused by a malfunction in the body’s immune system.

Normally, the immune system protects the body from infection by attacking and destroying foreign substances, like bacteria and viruses.

In people with Crohn’s disease, the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells in the digestive tract.

This causes inflammation, which can lead to the symptoms of Crohn’s disease.

ibd causes - Coping With Irritable Bowel Disease: Treatments and Recommendations


Your doctor will likely start with a physical exam and review of your medical history. They may also order blood tests and imaging tests like an x-ray or CT scan.

What happens during an IBD diagnosis?

Your doctor will start by reviewing your medical history, then performing a physical exam.

In addition to the standard physical exam elements, your doctor will pay special attention to your abdomen for inflammatory signs such as tenderness, pain with movement or overactivity in your intestines as reflected by loud gurgling sounds.

A physical exam is a series of lab tests and possibly a colonoscopy or endoscopy (to access your upper and lower gastrointestinal tracts)

Depending on your symptoms and other medical conditions you may have, one or more lab tests ordered. Blood tests will screen for an elevated white blood cell count (although this is not always seen in IBD, especially in patients with Crohn’s disease), and markers associated with inflammation such as C-reactive protein (CRP).

As mentioned, if your doctor suspects either ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease, a sample of your intestinal lining may be taken through a colonoscopy or endoscopy.



There are many different treatments for IBD, the most common treatments are:

  • Medications
  • Surgery
  • Lifestyle changes

Medications: The main types of medications used to treat IBD are anti-inflammatories, immunosuppressants, and biologics.

Anti-inflammatories help to reduce inflammation in the digestive tract. Immunosuppressants help to decrease the immune response, which can help to reduce inflammation. Biologics are a newer type of medication that specifically target proteins involved in the inflammation process.

Surgery: There are a variety of surgical options for treating inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The type of surgery recommended for a particular patient depends on the patient’s individual situation, including the severity of the disease, the patient’s age and overall health, and the patient’s preferences. The goal of surgery is to remove the diseased portion of the bowel and to relieve the symptoms of IBD. Surgery is not a cure for IBD, but it can provide significant symptom relief.

Lifestyle ChangesIf you suffer from inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), making lifestyle changes can help you manage your symptoms and feel your best. While there is no one-size-fits-all approach, some common lifestyle changes that may help include eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, and reducing stress. If you’re not sure where to start, talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian for advice.


The Impact of Having IBD


The Emotional Impact of Having IBD

Not only do you have to deal with the physical symptoms of IBD, but the emotional impact can be pretty significant as well. It’s hard to feel like yourself when you’re constantly dealing with abdominal pain, diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal issues.

It can be easy to feel isolated and alone, like no one understands what you’re going through. But it’s important to remember that you’re not alone and that there are support groups for IBD patients.  With  a few lifestyle changes can literally change your life.

The Physical Impact of IBD

If you’re one of the affected by irritable bowel disease (IBD), you know that the physical impact of the condition can be significant.

One of the most important things you can do is to work with your healthcare team to develop a treatment plan that’s right for you.

This may include medication, dietary changes, and other lifestyle modifications.

The Psychological Impact of IBD

The psychological impact of IBD can be significant, as well.

The stress of living with a chronic illness can take a toll on your mental health. Additionally, the symptoms of IBD can be embarrassing and can make you feel isolated and alone.

 ibd physical effect - Coping With Irritable Bowel Disease: Treatments and Recommendations

IBD Treatments and Recommendations

If you’re one of the many people suffering from irritable bowel disease (IBD), you know that finding the right treatment can be a long and frustrating process.

There are a lot of different options out there, and what works for one person may not work for another. That’s why it’s important to work with your doctor to find the best treatment plan for you.

Depending on the severity of your symptoms, treatments for IBD can range from lifestyle changes to medication.

Here are a few general treatment recommendations for IBD:

  1. Change your diet.
    For some people with IBD, making dietary changes can be very effective in managing symptoms.

    This might mean avoiding trigger foods and eating smaller meals every four hours.       

    A diet that is low in fat and easy to digest can help to reduce symptoms of IBD.

  1. Medications:
    There are a variety of medications that can be used to treat IBD, including anti-inflammatory drugs, immunosuppressants, and biologics.


  2. Surgery: In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove part of the intestine that is affected by IBD.


  3. Find healthy ways to manage stress. Meditation is a good way of reducing stress. 

 ibd doctors treatment - Coping With Irritable Bowel Disease: Treatments and Recommendations

Can IBD be Prevented?

There is no sure way to prevent IBD, but there are some things that may help lower your risk. For Crohn’s disease, avoiding smoking and eating a healthy diet may lower your risk.

For ulcerative colitis, staying at a healthy weight, eating a healthy diet, and avoiding smoking may help. There is no guarantee that these measures will prevent IBD, but they may help to lower your risk.


When You Should See a Doctor

Irritable bowel disorder can be a frustrating and debilitating condition, but there are ways to manage it and live a normal life.

With the help of a doctor, and by making lifestyle changes, such as following a special diet and reducing stress, you can minimize the symptoms of IBD and live a normal, healthy life.

Dr. Schneider offer services such as endoscopy procedures, including gastroscopy, colonoscopy and video capsule endoscopy.

For more information on the diagnosis and treatment of IBD in Johannesburg, contact Dr. Schneider or book your consultation today.


The information on this website is to provide general guidance. In no way does any of the information provided reflect definitive medical advice and self-diagnoses should not be made based on information obtained online. It is important to consult a Gastroenterologist or medical doctor regarding ANY and ALL symptoms or signs including, but not limited to: abdominal pain, haemorrhoids or anal / rectal bleeding as it may a sign of a serious illness or condition. A thorough consultation and examination should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call a physician or call our office today and schedule a consultation.