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IBD vs. IBS: What’s the Difference

July 20, 2022

IBD vs. IBS: What’s the Difference


If you currently have or have previously experienced the discomfort that comes with irritable bowel syndrome or inflammatory bowel disease, you might be in search of a solution to relieve some of your discomfort and move toward healing. Though IBS and IBD are gastrointestinal disorders, there are a number of differences between the two. 

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms associated with IBS or IBD, you are likely looking for relief. Though some suspect a faulty immune system plays a role in these conditions, no one knows for sure. There are ways to manage symptoms and discomfort caused by both IBS and IBD. This article will break down the nuances between IBD and IBS and discuss how you can seek relief from these uncomfortable conditions.

What Is IBD?

Let’s clear up the differences between IBD and IBS, for starters. Inflammatory bowel disease, or IBD, is a term used to describe disorders that involve chronic inflammation of the digestive tract. Some of the most common types of IBD include Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, which are broken down below.

Crohn's Disease 

Though Crohn's disease can occur at any age, this type of inflammatory bowel disease is often diagnosed before age 30. This digestive tract inflammation includes symptoms such as diarrhea, fatigue, fever, abdominal pain, and bloody stools. Crohn's disease can range from moderate to severe and, if left untreated or undiagnosed, can cause serious complications.

Ulcerative Colitis

Similar to Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis is another kind of IBD condition where ulcers form in your digestive tract. The innermost lining of your large intestine is impacted, in addition to your rectum.

While symptoms develop slowly, they can become severe, including diarrhea, abdominal pain and cramping, fatigue, fever, and passing blood with your stool. Ulcerative colitis can also become dangerous if left untreated or undiagnosed. 

Addressing IBD

If you are experiencing symptoms of IBD, ulcerative colitis, or Crohn’s disease, it is suggested you consult with your medical team. Particularly if your symptoms are persistent, your pain levels increase, and you do not see your symptoms going away on their own. While there is currently no cure for any disorders classified under IBD, there are some anti-inflammatory medications that may be able to assist in managing the inflammation. 

What Is IBS?

IBS, or irritable bowel syndrome, is a disorder that impacts your lower gastrointestinal (GI) tract, like your large and small intestine, and the colon. IBS entails belly cramps, gas, bloating or swelling of the lower abdomen, rectal bleeding, and changes in your bowel movements (like constipation or diarrhea). Painful constipation and cramps can be uncomfortable enough, but it can get complicated if you cannot pass stool or are dehydrated from having diarrhea. 

Though the cause of IBS is unknown, the symptoms are fairly easy to spot and can be linked to IBS. Though the symptoms of IBS are uncomfortable and can be moderately painful, they are not life-threatening and may be managed with a variety of methods, including lifestyle and diet changes. 

And yet, while IBS isn’t life-threatening, it can result in complications that can be harmful. For example, if you have diarrhea, you run a higher risk of dehydration. If dehydrated, your body can stop properly functioning. Prioritizing hydration methods and working with your medical team to manage symptoms are just two ways to address IBS. 

How Are IBD and IBS Different?

Though they have similar acronyms and even some similar symptoms, there are many factors that distinguish IBD and IBS. 

For starters, IBD is the inflammation or destruction of the intestinal walls, whereas IBS is the inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. IBD is usually accompanied by bloody stool, fever, and weight loss, whereas IBS generates difficulty passing stool and abdominal swelling. 

Causes and Cures for IBD and IBS

Though the causes of both are unknown, it is generally accepted that people with IBD and IBS have sensitive digestive or gastrointestinal tracts. However, women generally exhibit IBS more than men, and both IBS and IBD appear predominantly in people under 30 years of age. 

Though there is no known cure for either IBS or IBD, there are various ways to manage both issues. Though everybody is different, these chronic conditions seem to respond to healthful approaches, like lifestyle changes, diet, and stress management. 

Connecting with your healthcare team and a gastroenterology specialist is an important first step to determining what may be the cause of inflammation in your body and whether it’s IBD or IBS, as different conditions can mimic some of the symptoms. 

Your gastroenterologist will consider your family history, medical history, and other risk factors. You’ll discuss tests such as a CT scan, x-ray, and endoscopic procedures like a colonoscopy to diagnose IBD or IBS. If you receive an IBS diagnosis, your doctor will suggest the right IBS treatment options, like dietary changes or a hydrating IV. 

IBS patients may be instructed to temporarily try a gluten-free diet or a low FODMAP diet to help improve their quality of life, better understand their illness, and minimize flare-ups. 

How We Can Help

One of the most significant issues that comes with either IBS or IBD is the potential for dehydration due to diarrhea, inability to keep weight on, and a lack of critical nutrients due to dietary restrictions. 

Those with IBS may have a higher chance of having other functional disorders. One of the most effective ways to replenish your body with much-needed electrolytes due to dehydration is intravenous fluid therapy or IV therapy. 

The I.V. Doc, a luxury IV concierge service, is available to come discreetly to your home or office and deliver IV fluid therapy to you. Brought to you by a team of certified medical professionals, The I.V. Doc’s most hydrating package, Rescue, has been carefully crafted to meet your hydration needs. It contains anti-inflammatory and anti-nausea medications that may ease gastrointestinal symptoms.

The best thing about a concierge service, particularly one that combines accessible luxury and discretion, is that you can receive immediate relief from the comfort of your own home. All you have to do is contact your healthcare team and receive treatment in the privacy of your own space. 

Delivered directly to your body, all of the electrolytes and components of the specially medicated formula in the Rescue treatment are more immediately bioavailable than if you were to consume them orally. This allows them to be digested more easily by the body and reduces the strain on your gastrointestinal tract. 

The Bottom Line

If you are struggling with IBS or IBD, it’s imperative that you seek support from your medical team if you notice a persistent range of symptoms and experiencing discomfort. Intravenous fluid support, such as the Rescue treatment package from The I.V. Doc, can support your body after fluid loss from diarrhea, fever, or difficulty retaining fluids. 

IBS and IBD treatment is essential. If left untreated, these conditions can cause even further complications with harmful repercussions. If you notice any of the aforementioned symptoms, consult with your medical team to develop a plan moving forward. With the lining of your digestive tract being as sensitive and important as it is, any inflammatory issues should be dealt with promptly. 



Crohn's disease - Symptoms and causes | Mayo Clinic.

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) - Diagnosis and treatment | Mayo Clinic

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) | Cedars-Sinai

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