Conditions & Treatments
Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is an umbrella term for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, which is a chronic inflammation of your digestive tract that can often be debilitating. Our digestive health team at Einstein offers the most advanced and team-based treatment approach to help you manage your inflammatory bowel disease:
Characterized by symptoms like abdominal pain and cramping, diarrhea, blood in your stool, reduced appetite, unintended weight loss, fever and fatigue, ulcerative colitis causes long-lasting inflammation or sores that affect the innermost lining of the colon. Those living with the disease often go through periods of remission, and periods where the inflammation worsens, which can be severe and lead to life-threatening conditions. To diagnose ulcerative colitis and related conditions, your gastroenterologist may order blood tests and perform endoscopic and other imaging procedures. Treatments may include a special diet and lifestyle changes, nutritional support, medication and, in some cases, surgery.
Crohn’s disease is similar to ulcerative colitis, but can affect all areas of the digestive tract, and the inflammation is often present deeper inside the tissue. The symptoms, diagnostic procedures and treatments are similar to ulcerative colitis but can result in different symptom presentations.
Diagnostic Testing & Treatment
The digestive health team at Einstein offers a full range of the most advanced diagnostic testing and treatment for inflammatory bowel disease.
A colonoscopy is the most common procedure used in diagnosing colon and lower bowel conditions. A thin, flexible tube with a camera attached is inserted into your rectum and into the colon, allowing your doctor to look for abnormalities. During the procedure, your doctor can also perform treatments to stop bleeding, remove scar tissue, place stents, take biopsies to check for cancer and remove precancerous polyps. Your colonoscopy will be performed under sedation, and your gastroenterologist will provide further instruction regarding fasting and colon cleansing procedures prior to your scheduled appointment.
Preparing for a Colonoscopy
Stricture dilation is an endoscopic treatment with a balloon placed through the endoscope to stretch the narrowed area. This surgical procedure is used to widen the area of your bowels that have narrowed due to inflammation or scar tissue, also known as a stricture. The procedure involves inserting a flexible instrument with a camera attached to the location of the narrowing to help improve your symptoms. A balloon is placed through the instrument to “stretch” the narrowed area. An x-ray machine may also be used to help your gastroenterologist during the procedure. This is performed under sedation and your gastroenterologist will provide further instruction regarding fasting and cleansing prior to your scheduled appointment.
Long-lasting inflammation resulting in damage to your GI tract can lead to changes that can put you at risk for cancer. Chromoendoscopy involves the use of special dyes during endoscopy that help your physician locate and diagnose these changes before they become serious. Early identification of these changes is important for your long-term IBD management, which could include the need for surgery. This procedure is performed under sedation and your gastroenterologist will provide further instruction regarding fasting and cleansing prior to your scheduled appointment.
Frequently Asked Questions
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic condition affecting the large intestine that is associated with abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, and/or constipation.
You may have IBS if you experience frequent and recurrent bouts of abdominal pain, cramping, and bloating, as well as changes in the frequency and appearance of bowel movements or mucus in bowel movements over a significant period of time. Talk to your doctor about treatment options for IBS and ruling out conditions such as colon cancer.
The best treatments for IBS usually involve changes to diet and lifestyle. Testing for food sensitivities may also help to reduce your exposure to IBS triggers. Your doctor can also prescribe fiber supplements, laxatives, anti-diarrhea medication, antidepressants, and pain medications as needed. While IBS is not fully understood, it is a chronic condition that may or may not go away on its own. Current IBS treatments, including lifestyle and diet changes and identifying food sensitivities, as well as therapy and medication can help to control symptoms and reduce the frequency and severity of attacks.
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) describes conditions like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease that involve chronic inflammation of the digestive tract.
Common symptoms of bowel inflammation include: Abdominal pain and cramping, blood in your stool, diiarrhea, fatigue, reduced appetite and unintended weight loss. Symptoms associated with IBD can range in severity. You may experience periods of active illness followed by remission.
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If you are experiencing chronic or recurring abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, incontinence, gastrointestinal bleeding or other symptom associated with inflammatory bowel disease or other gastrointestinal conditions, make an appointment with one of our specialists today.
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