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On A Mission of Contributing to your Knowledge about Inflammatory Bowel Symptoms & Cures...

Types of Surgery used to Treat Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Sometimes severe inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) does not get better with medicine. In these cases, doctors may suggest surgery to fix or remove damaged parts of the intestine. There are different types of surgery used to treat IBD.

Surgery for ulcerative colitis

About 25 to 40 percent of people with ulcerative colitis need surgery at some point in their lives. Surgery that removes the entire large intestine can completely cure ulcerative colitis. After the large intestine is removed, surgeons perform one of two types of operations to allow the body to get rid of food waste:

Surgery for Crohn's disease

About 65 to 75 percent of people with Crohn's disease need surgery at some point in their lives. Surgery can relieve symptoms and correct problems like strictures, fistulae, or bleeding in the intestine. Surgery can help relieve Crohn's disease symptoms. But, since Crohn's disease occurs in patches, surgery cannot cure the disease. If a part of the small or large intestine is removed, the inflammation may then affect the part next to the section that was removed.

Types of surgery for Crohn's disease include:

Strictureplasty - In this surgery, the doctor widens the strictured, or narrowed, area without removing any part of the small intestine.

Bowel resection - In this surgery, the damaged part of the small or large intestine is removed and the two healthy ends are sewn back together.

Removal of the large intestine - This procedure is the same as that done for ulcerative colitis. But, people with Crohn’s can’t have an internal pouch for waste because it can become inflamed. Instead, surgeons use the external pouch procedure.

My Doctor Recommends Surgery for my Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

Did I fail at managing my disease? No. If medicines can no longer control your symptoms, you should consider surgery. Surgery can give lasting relief from symptoms and may reduce or even get rid of the need for medicine. Not every type of surgery is right for every person. People faced with the decision to have surgery should get as much information as they can from their doctors, nurses, and other patients.

Does Changing Foods help Control Inflammatory Bowel Disease?

No special eating plan has been proven effective for treating inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). But for some people, changing the foods they eat may help control the symptoms of IBD.

There are no blanket food rules. Changes that help one person with IBD may not relieve symptoms in another. Talk to your doctor and maybe a dietitian about which foods you should and should not be eating. Their suggestions will depend on the part of your intestine that is affected and which disease you have.

Your doctor may suggest some of the following changes:

Even though you may have to limit certain foods, you should still aim to eat meals that give you all the nutrients you need.

Can stress make inflammatory bowel disease worse?

Although stress does not cause inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), some people find that stress can bring on a flare-up in their disease. If you think this is happening to you, try using relaxation techniques, such as slow breathing. Also, be sure to get enough sleep.

New Treatments for Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Researchers are studying many new treatments for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). These include new medicines, such as new biologic therapies. Researchers are also studying whether fish or flaxseed oils can help fight the inflammation in IBD. Some evidence supports using probiotics to treat some types of diarrhea and a form of IBD called pouchitis. Probiotics are “good” bacteria that may improve the balance of bacteria in your digestive system. Some researchers are hoping to develop new therapies by studying probiotics.

If you are interested in participating in a clinical study on IBD, visit the clinical trials website of the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

Do I have a higher chance of getting Colon Cancer with Inflammatory Bowel Disease?

Yes. Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) can increase your chances of getting cancer of the colon, or large intestine. Even so, more than 90 percent of people with IBD do NOT get colon cancer.

What we know about colon cancer and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) comes mostly from studying people with ulcerative colitis. Less is known about the link between Crohn's disease and cancer. But research suggests that Crohn's patients have an increased risk as well. For both diseases, the risk of colon cancer depends on:

Also, people who have family members with colon cancer may have an even higher chance of getting the cancer.

For people with ulcerative colitis, the risk of colon cancer does not start to increase until they have had the disease for 8-10 years. People whose disease affects the entire colon have the highest risk of colon cancer. People whose disease affects only the rectum have the lowest risk.

People with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) should talk to their doctors about when to begin checking for colon cancer, what tests to get, and how often to have them. Your doctor's suggestions will depend on how long you have had IBD and how severe it is.

In people who have had IBD for 8-10 years, most doctors recommend a colonoscopy with biopsies every 1-2 years. This test checks for early warning signs of cancer in the cells of the colon lining. When cancer is found early, it is easier to cure and treat.