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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Is inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) different to Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)?

    I have just been diagnosed with IBD. Is this the same as IBS?
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    Dr Tom Xinyi Zhou


    Dr Tom Zhou is a specialist Gastroenterologtist. His specialist interests include Endoscopy, Colonosocopy, Liver diseases and Colon cancer screening. Dr Tom Zhou completed his Medical … View Profile

    No IBD is totally different to IBS. Although IBD patients are more prone to IBS.

    IBD (inflammatory bowel disease) usually refers to either Crohns disease or Ulcerative colitis. They are autoimmune conditions which results in inflammation and damage to your gastrointestinal mucosa. IBD require medical treatment with immune suppressant. Left untreated IBD can lead to significant short and long term complications. Complications may result in bowel cancer and death.

    IBS is irritable bowel syndrome. This is a diagnosis made based on symptoms, and exclusion of other bowel related diseases. Typical symptoms include Diarrhoea, constipation, a combination of diarrhoea and constipation. Bloating and diarrhoea are also very common.

     This condition does not cause inflammation or damage to your intestinal mucosa. It does not lead to any serious long term complications, and it does not lead to increased risk of bowel cancer.

    Treatment often involves dietary modification, symptomatic relieve with health supplement and probiotics, and occasionally prescribed medication for symptom control.

    Because IBD patients usually have more sensitive bowels, they are prone to suffer from symptoms of IBS. Institute some dietary modifications and treatment for IBS may be helpful in improving symptom control.

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