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IBS or IBD

What’s the difference?

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is not a disease but rather a disorder that causes the colon to function improperly. It affects about 5 million Americans of all ages. Although IBS doesn’t damage the digestive tract, its symptoms can be uncomfortable, embarrassing and life-changing. Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), on the other hand, is actually two diseases that cause swelling and inflammation in the intestines and affect over a million Americans. They are:

  • Ulcerative colitis attacks the inner lining of the large intestine (colon), causing inflammation and ulcers.
  • Crohn’s disease can affect any part of the GI tract and causes inflammation that extends deeper into the intestinal wall than ulcerative colitis.

Symptoms of IBS/ IBD

  • Cramping, abdominal pain
  • Difficult, infrequent or altered bowel habits
  • Diarrhea or frequent loose stools
  • Gas and bloating
  • Mucus in stool
  • Pellet-shaped or ribbon-shaped stool
  • Weight loss, dehydration and malnutrition
  • Rectal bleeding, sometimes leading to anemia
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Possible delayed development and stunted growth in children

The causes of IBS and IBD are unknown. Diagnosis of both disorders is challenging. It requires ruling out other potential causes of symptoms. Medical history, physical exam, blood tests and upper and lower endoscopy can all help us diagnose and treat these disorders. Research, clinical trials and new protocols are always becoming available.

Our board-certified gastroenterologists have the capabilities and expertise to diagnose and treat IBS and IBD. We can help relieve your symptoms and treat any underlying problems with the compassion, personal dedication and concern you deserve.


For more on IBS/IBD treatment, call East Valley Gastroenterology & Hepatology Associates at 480.786.6655 or use our online form to schedule your consultation.

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