Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

Clinical Services: Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Upper East Side
1283 York Avenue, 9th Floor
New York, NY 10065
Call
(646) 962-2382
Lower Manhattan
156 William Street, 6th Floor
New York, NY 10038
Fax
(646) 962-0156
Call
(646) 962-2705

Expert Inflammatory Bowel Disease Care at Weill Cornell Medicine

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) describes several disorders in which the digestive tract becomes chronically inflamed. These disorders can be debilitating and lead to severe complications or digestive organs damage.  IBD includes:

Ulcerative colitis
Crohn’s disease

The cause of IBD is unknown. One possible cause is an abnormal immune system response that causes the immune system to attack the digestive tract, which causes inflammation.

Fortunately, expert care and treatment helps IBD patients manage symptoms, lessen inflammation, prevent complications — and improve their quality of life.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease Prevention and Screening

IBD risk factors: You are more likely to develop IBD if you:

Are younger than 30 years old
Have a family history of IBD
Smoke or use tobacco
Frequently use nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, including ibuprofen
Live in an industrialized country

Prevention strategies: There is no way to prevent IBD. Physicians recommend living a healthy lifestyle and maintaining a healthy weight to promote general wellness.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease Symptoms

IBD symptoms vary from patient to patient, depending on the severity and location of the inflammation. Most patients feel sick at some times and healthy at others. The most common symptoms include: 

Diarrhea
Blood in stool
Fever
Fatigue
Stomach pain
Stomach cramps
Reduced appetite
Weight loss

How We Diagnose Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Physicians at Weill Cornell Medicine diagnose IBD by first ruling out other disorders or diseases. Then, one of the following tests may be used to confirm an IBD diagnosis:

Blood test
Stool test
Endoscopic procedures, including colonoscopy or endoscopy
Abdominal imaging tests, including x-ray, CT scan, or MRI scan

Treatment Options for Inflammatory Bowel Disease at Weill Cornell Medicine

IBD treatment aims to reduce inflammation and lessen the severity of symptoms. This helps prevent long-term complications and improve the quality of life.

It is important for IBD patients to receive frequent care from a board-certified gastroenterologist. Long term care is vital for assessing, monitoring, and preventing serious complications associated with the disease.

At Weill Cornell Medicine, our patients receive a personalized treatment plan tailored to their specific symptoms and lifestyle goals. Typically, treatment plans incorporate medications, lifestyle changes, emotional support, and — if needed — surgery. 

Medication therapy: Your physician may recommend one or more of the following medications and supplements to ease symptoms and reduce inflammation. 

Anti-inflammatory medications
Immune system suppressors
Antibiotics
Anti-diarrheal medications
Pain relievers
Calcium and vitamin D
Iron supplements 

Nutritional support: There is no clear link between diet and IBD, but specific foods may aggravate IBD symptoms. At Weill Cornell Medicine, IBD patients benefit from a dedicated registered dietician nutritionist who understands the unique nutritional and dietary needs of IBD patients. 

Patients also benefit from seeking advice from our specialized nutritionists.

Stress reduction and emotional support: While stress does not cause IBD symptoms, many patients experience more severe symptoms during periods of high-stress. In addition, living with IBD can be emotionally challenging and difficult.

IBD patients may benefit from learning and implementing stress-reducing techniques, as well as seeking emotional support from other IBD patients, their personal network, and a mental health professional who understands IBD.

At Weill Cornell Medicine, IBD patients can turn to the Integrative Health and Wellbeing Program for complementary services.

Surgery: In some cases, physicians recommend surgery for IBD patients. 

Ulcerative colitis surgery: For patients with ulcerative colitis, surgery involves removing the entire colon and rectum (proctocolectomy). In many cases, this surgery eliminates the disease.
Crohn’s disease surgery: For patients with Crohn’s disease, surgeons can remove damaged sections of the digestive tract and reconnect the healthy sections. This surgery provides short-term relief and requires frequent monitoring.  

Comprehensive Care Founded on Cutting-Edge Research

The gastroenterologists at Weill Cornell Medicine unite their specialized expertise with the breadth of knowledge and support at our top-ranked hospital.  

Weill Cornell Medicine patients have access to specialists in surgery, rheumatology, psychiatry, hepatology, oncology, nutrition, genetics and other fields. In addition, our patients benefit from collaborative care with:

The Jay Monahan Center for Gastrointestinal Health
The Jill Roberts Center for Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Meet Our Doctors

Our board-certified gastroenterologists provide compassionate care based on the latest IBD research and clinical findings. Patients benefit from our gastroenterologists’ extensive training, targeted care, and collaboration with other specialists at our top-ranked hospital.

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