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IBD and Hydration: How to Manage Them

IBD and Hydration: How to Manage Them

Do the symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) lead you to have a hard time staying hydrated?

Even in healthy individuals, diarrhea can result in dehydration, and it can be more problematic when IBD produces persistent diarrhea. The large intestine may be partially or completely removed during surgery to treat Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, and other gastrointestinal conditions. Most water is absorbed through the large intestine, therefore if all or part of it is missing, the body may absorb less water overall.

For those who have an ileostomy and have undergone j-pouch surgery, hydration is a particular area of concern (ileal pouch-anal anastomosis or IPAA).

After ileostomy surgery, dehydration is a key factor in readmissions to the hospital.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease: What Is It?

Ulcerative colitis (UC)  and Crohn's disease are two illnesses that fall under the general term "inflammatory bowel disease" (IBD) (CD). Although they both have similar symptoms, Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn's disease affect different parts of the body. While CD can affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract, causing inflammation through all of its layers, UC is restricted to the colon and primarily affects the mucosa, which is the colon's superficial lining.

What typical IBD symptoms are there?

IBDs like Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis frequently exhibit the following symptoms:

What's the connection between IBD and dehydration?

Dehydration results from IBD's impact on the gut and colon's capacity to absorb water, which causes inflammation and disturbance of the colon mucosa. Along with electrolyte imbalance, IBD patients frequently have deficits in sodium, calcium, potassium, and magnesium.

Some IBD patients may require surgery to remove a portion of the intestine in more extreme circumstances, necessitating ostomies, which can further impair the absorption of water and electrolytes.

Serious dehydration can also result from persistent diarrhea, one of the most pervasive symptoms of an IBD flare-up, as well as vomiting.

Oral rehydration therapy: what is it?

The original purpose of oral rehydration therapy (ORT) was to treat mild to moderate dehydration in cholera patients. Oral rehydration therapy (ORT) activates electrolyte pumps in the stomach that improve the process of water absorption by combining the proper quantity of sodium and glucose (sugar). Bowel inflammation in IBD patients makes it difficult for them to absorb water. The body's hydration system will benefit from ORT.

How can people with IBD avoid becoming dehydrated?

Patients with IBD must drink plenty of water to be healthy. Patients with IBD should replace what they are losing by keeping track of how often they urinate and when they vomit. Since nausea and vomiting are frequent symptoms, taking small sips of liquids may help to keep you hydrated. The most typical dehydration signs, such as dry mouth, dark urine, weariness, headaches, etc., should be recognized.

Tips for Hydration

There are other actions you can take to prevent hydration:

Consider a probiotic. Your body will be able to take in more water thanks to it.

When the weather is cold, drink more water. When the temperature drops, the air is drier and your body loses water more quickly. You can see the moisture exiting your body when you breathe.

When it's extremely hot outside, stay inside. Between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., the sun's rays are at their most intense. Protect yourself if you must venture outside amid the day.

To prevent becoming too hot:

A word from the doctor

Electrolytes are essential for good hydration because they help various organs absorb water.

Water absorption is determined by sodium levels in the gut. Besides absorption of water, the colon exchanges electrolytes, such as potassium and chloride, to help remove waste products. 

Patients with inflammatory bowel disease should take electrolyte solutions to prevent electrolyte imbalances and dehydration. 

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