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Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Comprehensive Care to Alleviate Symptoms

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a treatable, yet chronic and lifelong condition. The term IBD refers to the inflammation of the colon and rectum. IBD includes specific conditions such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.

Our specialized gastrointestinal team at University Hospitals work together to improve our IBD patients’ health and quality of life. Our optimal treatment goal is to minimize inflammatory bowel disease symptoms to allow our patients to live more normal lives. If you’re getting treated for IBD and if you are on chronic or recurring corticosteroids, perhaps it’s time to see a skilled IBD specialist at University Hospitals. Our physicians have available a wider variety of newer biologic therapies – innovative medications that have come out over the last 5 to 10 years.

Understanding Inflammatory Bowel Disease Risk Factors

The cause of inflammatory bowel disease is unknown, but there are risk factors that increase the chance of developing IBD, including:

  • Age – most people with IBD are diagnosed before age 30
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Genetics – people who have a family history of IBD are at higher risk, including parents, siblings or a child with IBD
  • High use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications
  • Race or ethnicity – people with white skin or of Ashkenazi Jewish descent have higher risk of IBD
  • Locale – if you live in a northern climate or an industrialized country, you're more likely to get IBD

Knowing your risks and managing the ones you can control will improve your quality of life when living with inflammatory bowel disease. That’s why our team helps to educate patients throughout all phases of care.

More Information: IBD Diet Guide

Multidisciplinary Approach to Inflammatory Bowel Care

Also, because inflammatory bowel disease can affect overall health, we pay close attention to short- and long-term disease issues on each patient’s health, including:

  • Bone health
  • Eye health
  • Infections
  • Skin health

Our team integrates care for each patient with bone density studies, ophthalmologist appointments and dermatologist visits. In addition, we offer psychiatry, psychological counseling and alternative and complimentary care to assist patients with any emotional stress due to this condition. We do everything in our power to minimize short and long-term effects on quality of life.

State-of-the-Art Imaging Used for Inflammatory Bowel Disease

We have sophisticated imaging available at University Hospitals and use these full capabilities for our patients with inflammatory bowel disease to allow deeper evaluation of the digestive tract. Advanced endoscopic and non-endoscopic imaging techniques allow us to more accurately assess disease location and severity. Imaging includes:

  • Advanced endoscopy, including capsule endoscopy
  • Computed tomography (CT)
  • Double balloon endoscopy
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

Surgical Treatment Options for Inflammatory Bowel Disease

We encourage close communication with patients and are continually watching for changes in bowel function with ongoing inflammatory bowel disease. After eight years of IBD treatment and monitoring, patients receive routine colonoscopies every few years to check for irregularities or signs of cancer.

When surgery is the best treatment path, our IBD specialists work together with colorectal surgeons to decide the appropriate time for surgery. In many cases, 75 percent of Crohn’s disease patients and 25 - 45 percent of patients with ulcerative colitis (UC), surgery will be needed at some point according to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America. Minimally invasive surgical interventions can provide both temporary or long-term disease management for a better quality of life.

Research Discoveries Improve IBD Care

Through scientific research and clinical trials, we are better able to understand IBD. Our scientists take blood, tissue and stool samples from patients to further their research and understanding for treatment improvements.

Offering Consultative Care across the State and Beyond

With access to these research discoveries and working closely with the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, our specialists provide consultative care for those suffering from IBD or other serious gastrointestinal issues. Patients from across the state and beyond come to University Hospitals for a second opinion or recommendation and then return to their community gastrointestinal or GI doctor.