IBD vs. IBS

The initials are similar, so they are easy to confuse. But IBD and IBS are two different conditions.

IBD stands for inflammatory bowel disease.

IBS stands for irritable bowel syndrome.

Inflammation caused by IBD can be seen with a CT scan or MRI scan or with a colonoscopy.

IBS cannot be seen with CT, MRI or colonoscopy. The large and small intestines look normal. The blood work of a person with IBS is also normal.

IBS is a functional disorder, caused by problems in how the bowels work. In some cases, the movement of the colon is too slow, so the IBS patient has a problem with constipation. In others, the colon moves too fast, so the IBS patient has a problem with diarrhea.

IBS is not treated with the anti-inflammatory medications used to treat IBD.

The treatments for IBS include fiber supplements, dietary changes, and antispasmodic medications that slow down the irregular movement of the intestines.