About 1.6 million Americans are affected by inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Although there is no cure, patients in the Garden City, NY, and East Setauket, NY, areas can depend on our colorectal specialists to effectively manage the condition through proper diagnosis and treatment. Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis account for the vast majority of IBD and share many symptoms, including vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, bloating, and rectal bleeding. In addition to being disruptive and physically uncomfortable, symptoms can lead to more serious issues if left untreated. We can provide safe, minimally invasive options to improve your condition. To learn more, please contact us today.
A major challenge of IBD is that even many trained healthcare professionals are unfamiliar with the disease. Our doctors, on the other hand, are experts in colorectal conditions and frequently treat IBD. Learning about Chrohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis will help you understand and manage your condition, and can help alleviate some of the anxiety you may feel if you or a loved one has been diagnosed.
Both Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis cause inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract, which extends from the mouth to the anus. The main difference between the two conditions is that ulcerative colitis is restricted to the colon and rectum, while Crohn’s can affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract. In addition, ulcerative colitis affects the only the lining of the gut, while Crohn’s affects the entire bowel wall. The inflammation arises from an abnormal response by the immune system, which mistakenly attacks and destroys healthy gastrointestinal tract tissue. The exact cause of IBD is not known, though heredity is thought to play a role. Younger patients are more commonly affected, but IBD can occur at any age.
Although there are other forms of IBD besides Chrohn’s and ulcerative colitis, they account for far fewer cases and are not always classified as such. To diagnose IBD, our doctors will first rule out other potential causes for your symptoms. These may include diverticulitis, colorectal cancer, infection, and ischemic colitis. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a separate disorder with symptoms that can overlap with those of IBD. It is much more common than IBD, and is classified as a functional gastrointestinal disorder. Once other possible causes are ruled out, your doctor will confirm an IBD diagnosis by using one or more tests or procedures. These may include blood tests for anemia or infection, a fecal occult blood test to check for blood in the stool, and imaging or endoscopic procedures such as colonoscopy with a biopsy.
Treatment and Management
IBD is usually treated with medications or surgery. A number of drugs, including anti-inflammatory drugs, immune system suppressors, and antibiotics, have been shown to be helpful in managing symptoms. Anti-diarrheal medications, pain relievers, and supplements may also be recommended. Newer approaches are becoming available with emerging technology and the discovery of possible links between diet, the immune system, and the bacteria found in the digestive tract. If these treatments are not enough to relieve symptoms, surgery may be recommended. Our doctors stay on the leading edge of new advances in surgical techniques in order to provide the least invasive treatment of colorectal conditions.
Make an Appointment
Even mild IBD can take a significant toll on your quality of life. If you are experiencing symptoms, contact us immediately to schedule an appointment.