Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
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:
● Blood in stool
● 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
● 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:
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.