INFLAMMATORY BOWEL DISEASE
The term inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) covers a group of disorders in which the intestines become inflamed (red and swollen), probably as a result of an immune reaction of the body against its own intestinal tissue.
There are two major types of IBD: ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn’s disease (CD). As the name suggests, ulcerative colitis is limited to the colon (large intestine). Although Crohn’s disease can involve any part of the gastrointestinal tract from the mouth to the anus, it most commonly affects the small intestine and/or the colon.
Both ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease usually run a waxing and waning course in the intensity and severity of illness. When there is severe inflammation, the disease is considered to be in an active stage, and the person experiences a flare-up of the condition. When the degree of inflammation is less (or absent), the person usually is without symptoms, and the disease is considered to be in remission.
Colonoscopy is often used as a diagnostic tool to confirm IBD. Various tests including radiology studies, Capsule Endoscopy and various blood and stool testing can be performed by our physicians to make an accurate diagnosis and assess the severity of disease activity.
The goal of medical treatment is to suppress the abnormal inflammatory response. This allows the intestinal tissue to heal, thereby relieving the symptoms of rectal bleeding, diarrhea and abdominal pain. Once the symptoms are under control, medical treatment is used to decrease the frequency of flare-ups and to maintain remission.
A stepwise approach to the use of medications for inflammatory bowel disease may be taken. With this approach, the most benign (least harmful) drugs or drugs taken for a short period of time are used first. If they fail to provide relief, drugs from a higher step are used.
All of our physicians are experts in the management of IBD from mild to the most severe patients and we offer all of the latest treatments. We frequently will see “second opinion” consultations for patients who need a new approach to maximize their response to therapy. Our office staff will help ensure that our patients’ insurance plans will cover their diagnostic testing and cutting-edge therapies we offer to all our patients.
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