Bowel symptoms misdiagnosed, survey shows

Nov 2, 2012 | News

By Stacey Thompson

A recent survey by the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of Canada shows Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD) is not diagnosed quickly enough.

The Impact of IBD Survey found 71 per cent of people surveyed said they had waited for more than six months for a diagnosis after experiencing symptoms, 45 per cent waited more than a year for a diagnosis and 62 per cent said early diagnosis would helped them.

The survey followed 500 people with IBD last fall.

A second research project by the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation shows IBD is growing among youth.

“Right now there is no evidence in what causes IBD. People don’t know why there has been a higher rate in children and people in general in Canada,” Rea Ganesh, executive director of Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of Canada told Humber News.

Genetic Environment Microbial Project (GEM) is a five-year research project which has another six months left.

Irritable Bowel Disease is no longer an adult disease. Youth are now being affected. COURTESY OF WIKICOMMONS

The project follows 2000 people to find out what causes IBD.

It is looking at people who already have it, their siblings and offspring. So far 14 of the 2000 have been diagnosed with IBD.

The average age of diagnosis was 19 and five were under 15.

Now the foundation can look at these people when they were healthy to try to find out what caused them to become sick.

The foundation will look at diet, environment and gastro-intestinal symptoms to gather research that may help find a cure.

The symptoms associated with IBD are bloody stool, diarrhea, pain in the abdomen and weight loss.

“Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Irritable Bowel Disease have similar symptoms, but they are different,” said Ganesh.  “IBD there is inflammation in the colon while IBS there is not.”

IBS can be controlled by diet.

“Yes, diet certainly affects IBS, it makes a huge difference,” said Marilyn Temple, a registered dietitian with Eat Right Ontario. “We recommend eating at regular times each day and having enough fluid and fiber. Those are the main diet strategies.”

Growth and development are affected in children with IRB due to being a lot smaller. Children have to use the bathroom more so their bodies are not absorbing the nutrients they need, Ganesh said.

When young adults go off to university, it can impair their education due to flare-ups and feeling ill, which can result in being in school longer to finish their program, Ganesh said.

Ganesh said that unlike other diseases where there could be one medication that works, for people with IBD it is a different story.

There is no one medication or diet that works for one person. It’s a trail and error where doctors will try different medications to find what works for that individual, she added.