It was only recently that I had heard of Inflammatory Bowel Disease, because previously I had only heard of Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome, or I'd just heard people talk about Crohn's. It wasn't until I heard Hank talk about his ulcerative colitis that I had heard of IBD specifically. I was curious about the change and read up on it and two words popped out at me; "autoimmune" and "colitis". IBD's are typically identified as diseases that cause an inflammation of the colon due to an autoimmune reaction.
I have Celiac's disease, which most people recognize as the disease that causes gluten intolerance. If I eat wheat, barley, rye, spelt, semolina, etc, I get sick.
What most people don't know is why I get sick. Celiac's disease is an autoimmune disease. My body no longer breaks down gluten (I don't know why. I've tried to understand it several times, and it's all very biology intensive). When that gluten travels to my colon, it's sort of like antifreeze in a kidney. It gums up the works, tears up my villi (the little hairs that allow for nutrient absorption), and causes my immune system to go crazy, which causes my colon to become inflamed.
Now, I'm going to say right now, it's honestly a cake-walk (pun not-intended, but welcomed) compared to what people with Crohn's, and general colitis diseases. Those people need to take anti-inflammatory drugs, immunosuppressents, and sometimes surgery in order to treat their disease. I just need to avoid gluten.
But I was surprised to read so many articles saying that Celiac's was similar to IBD, but not the same.
I mean, I'm not exactly offended by the lack of classification, though sure, it might make my disease sound more serious than "gluten intolerance". It is, after all, very frustrating when people think that gluten intolerance is like lactose intolerance. Might I point out that ONE accident can cause me to have an outbreak of dermatitis, anaemia, as well as other vitamin deficiencies, increase risk of infection, and repeated exposure can lead to an increase risk of colon cancer, increase risk of infertility, it's not pretty folks.
But mostly I'm just curious what makes celiac's NOT fall into the IBD category. Afterall, it is a disease that causes inflammation of the bowels... I mean, it could be because IBD classified diseases are not controlled by diet alone, and celiac's is. My symptoms can be controlled without medication. But that feels like such a small detail.
Just a few days ago, I had an accident. It wasn't a big one, I was out with friends and decided to get some french fries. Well, something must have gotten cross-contaminated, and thought I didn't feel it at the time, for the past two days I've had symptoms consistent with mild colitis. And when people talk about having a chronic disease that makes you have to change your entire lifestyle, and flare-ups that keep you within close proximity of a toilet, I definitely understand that part. When people talk about colonoscopies, and worry about having insurance to cover cancer screening, I definitely understand that.
I just worry that, because I have a disease that's classified as "similar but not the same" as a bunch of diseases that are all classified together, despite the differences between things like Crohn's, UC, Collagenous colitis, Lymphocytic colitis, etc., that somehow I'll be seen as "similar but not the same" as a person suffering from gastrointestinal inflammatory issues. I recognize that my disease, which I have a severe form of, is still not as severe as people who have a mild-to-moderate severity of IBD classified disease, but it's not any less present in my life.
Maybe I'm just over-thinking it... but it's also 3:00am on my bday and I can't sleep because my tummy hurts...