Into the bowels of gut research

Into the bowels of gut research

For people living with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), navigating life around the risk of flare-ups can be a messy and exhausting challenge. According to the EFCCA, there are ten million people worldwide living with IBD, an umbrella term used to describe disorders that cause chronic inflammation of your gastrointestinal (GI) tract.

There are two primary forms of IBD – ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease – both of which have a marked impact on a person’s daily life. As with the majority of health conditions, symptoms and severity vary from patient to patient; however, common experiences include persistent diarrhoea, abdominal pain, weight loss, and fatigue.

IBD conditions are often episodic in nature. Symptoms can go into remission for days, months, or even years before a flare-up occurs. For researchers, this complicates matters, as monitoring and treating a fluctuating condition over time requires a great deal of information about both the nature of IBD, and the external environmental factors that exacerbate symptoms.

While there is still no cure for IBD, multiple treatments have been approved to help patients achieve and maintain remission. This gives the lining of the gastrointestinal tract a chance to heal, something that can substantially improve quality of life for the patient. The challenge is, when patients exit the clinical setting, the appearance and severity of their symptoms don’t stay static. One bite of the wrong food at the wrong moment can throw a spanner in the works.

Read the full article in pharmaphorum's Deep Dive digital magazine