IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease) is becoming more common each year. It is estimated that 600,000 people within the US have this condition. It is commonly found in those over thirty, but occasionally children receive the same diagnosis. Because IBD affects the digestive tract, it can lead to other types of problems as well leaving some people having to deal with Inflammatory Bowel Disease and GERD at the same time. Although they effect different areas of the digestive tract with IBD effecting the intestines and GERD the stomach and esophagus, they can be related to one another.
Because IBD is not the same type of condition as acid reflux, many don’t make the connection. This disease affects the tissues of the intestines and can cause a host of troubling symptoms. A person with Inflammatory Bowel Disease might have problems with diarrhea, vomiting, bowel blockage, pain, bloating, and other related events. IBD is classed as an auto-immune condition, so it can be found in those who might have something like Lupus or CDS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome). However, many with IBD also have problems with GERD.
It would stand to reason that one upset in the digestive system would mean the rest of the system might be out of whack too. Someone with unexplained GERD might find that this is not their main problem, but rather the symptom of a larger problem that might be diagnosed as IBD.
When problems with GERD that are related to Inflammatory Bowel Disease arise, one option is to try and treat the GERD, but the better approach would be treating the underlying issue. Medications can also help IBD, along with some lifestyle modifications that may prove beneficial. If the condition of IBD can be controlled to some extent, it is possible that the acid reflux related pain and discomfort would disappear without specific treatment for that problem.
When dealing with either of these two health issues one of the best forms of treatment is to amend your diet. Thankfully following a diet for IBD will help reduce and soothe GERD symptoms too with just a few exceptions to watch out for.
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Generally the low fat, high soluble diet that is recommended for IBD also reduces GERD. High fat foods are a trigger for both conditions so avoid these wherever possible.
Acidic foods such as citrus, tomatoes and vinegar are known triggers for reflux so they should be avoided. Coffee, as well as being acidic is also a powerful stimulant, creating a host of problems for both the upper and lower digestive system, so again best to avoid. If you’re looking for a replacement for coffee avoid green and black teas as they also contain caffeine and try herbal teas such as chamomile instead.
Chocolate is another favorite that is off the menu for both IBD and GERD as it is both high in fat and contains theobromine, a muscle relaxant, which relaxes the Lower Esophagal sphincter allow acid to reflux up and out of the stomach.
As a general rule eating smaller meals more often is helpful for both conditions as it doesn’t overload the digestive system, giving it time to process the food, nor does is leave long periods of time between eating.
When trying to treat GERD and IBD, it is important to keep a note of what treatments are working and what aren’t. If someone has symptoms of both Inflammatory Bowel Disease and GERD, they should chose a treatment plan that takes into account both conditions rather than trying to treat them singularly. Speak to your doctor if you think you are displaying signs of either of these conditions.