IBD, chronic inflammatory bowel disease, is experienced as a shameful or taboo disease that no one talks about and yet ruin the lives of more than 100,000 French people. Fortunately, we begin to know how to treat them since we understood the origin.
IBD is a group of similar diseases, the best known of which are Crohn's disease and Crohn's disease, Rectocolitis Hemorrhagica. They are called IBD, to try to get them out of anonymity. Unknown to the general public, underestimated in France, not mentioned in the media, these IBD remain an exception subject to the limit of the taboo.
Like canker sores in the intestine ...
We all had a day with a sore mouth or a small lesion inside the mouth. Well, imagine the same thing, bigger and bigger, inside the gut, and you'll get an idea of what's going on in IBD. With, in fact, a diagnosis difficult to make, because these inflammatory erosions which can touch our digestive tract from the beginning to the end, that is to say from the mouth to the anus, according to their location, give disparate and different manifestations that mislead the doctor.
Belly pain, fatigue, fever, diarrhea, blood in the stool, sometimes weight loss. It is only by going to look with a pipe equipped with a camera that one will be able to be certain of the diagnosis. These diseases evolve by unpredictable outbreaks, interspersed with periods of remission. In a push, the repercussions on everyday life are profound and inevitable. Although not contagious and invisible to others, symptoms are present at every moment of family, work and social life. With especially constantly, the fear of being under the knife, because the inflammation of the lining of the intestine, if it does not stop, ends up digging a hole that can degenerate into perforation or hemorrhage. This is an emergency.
For years, doctors have had the reflex "inflammation / anti-inflammatory". And the treatment has long been the use of the most powerful anti-inflammatories, corticosteroids, that we use with all the risk of side effects that involves the use of these treatments.
An autoimmune disease
The revelation that IBDs were autoimmune diseases and the arrival of treatments for these diseases changed the face of things.
What is common about IBD, violent rheumatism, certain myopathies and multiple sclerosis? A set of diseases very different in their symptoms, but which share the same mechanism: their defense system, the so-called immune system, has lost its reason. Autoimmune diseases are the soldiers who return their weapons against their own camp, but also the most modern explanation of dozens of diseases that are sometimes very old.
The soldier of immunity is called the antibody. It is made by the white blood cells of our blood. When a foreign body enters our body, the answer is perfectly codified. We secrete hordes of antibodies capable of identifying and digesting the intruder. A counterterrorism system so much that there is one type of antibody for each type of aggressor. Yet, one day, for reasons that are still difficult to understand, some antibodies go crazy and begin to destroy the body that made them; not by chance, but by attacking specific parts. Hence, impressive damage in hours, days or months. Hence the disparity of diseases that this mechanism causes.
How can a cell of our body go crazy?
The first track has been to point our world of opulence, these diseases being much rarer in poor countries. Genetic factors are also at play, since many autoimmune diseases are associated with a particular tissue group. The tissue groups are to the tissues of the body what are the blood groups to the red blood cells. Lastly, the stressful life events, the daily stress more than the major traumas, seem to influence the variations of the symptoms. Immunity, psyche; the field of investigation is vast ... Psychiatric disorders, especially depression, are common in these diseases. One would think that suffering from a serious illness makes one depressed. Consequence and no longer cause ... Except that conversely, an increase in natural immunity has been proven during depressive syndromes. There is a common profile of vulnerability to autoimmune diseases, close to a profile incriminated in the occurrence of certain cancers ...
Faced with all these more or less verified hypotheses, medicine struggles to define a practical attitude. For a long time, "boosting" the immune system was the favorite playground of "natural" medicines that had identified the disarray of doctors and the huge market that these diseases presuppose. You have to be honest! Nobody knows today where is the border between quackery and the benefit of homeopathic field treatments, treatments of trace elements or nutrients in this area.
Traditional medicine has resurfaced with "biotherapies", drugs derived from genetics.
Biotherapies have changed the lives of patients
In 1997, when they arrived in rheumatology, medicine had not seen such a revolution since the arrival of anti-inflammatory drugs in the 1950s.
Exceptional results, first in rheumatoid arthritis, demonstrating incontestably that the disease was no longer evolving or even regressing. Then the use was extended to other inflammatory conditions that are difficult to treat, such as ankylosing spondylitis, and the terrible rheumatism of psoriasis; today, Crohn's disease and other IBD. Only downside, the cost of these new treatments, even if the competition between the pharmaceutical companies lowers them. Theoretically, very long-term treatments ... But earlier use can significantly reduce the prescription period.
You did not know these IBDs. Yet 100,000 French people, the equivalent of a city like Angoulême, today make it their daily concern.