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Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a lifelong intestinal disorder that causes an inflammation of the digestive tract. It involves an abnormal response by the immune system that damages the lining of the digestive system, causing inflammation, ulceration and painful symptoms.
WakeMed’s gastroenterologists understand the intricacies of this complex and chronic condition, and we have access to the latest therapies to provide customized treatment for each patient.
IBD is an umbrella term, which generally indicates either Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.
IBD is not the same thing as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Although the types of IBD are different diseases, each causes the destruction of the digestive system and produces a similar group of life-altering symptoms. IBD is a chronic condition, and symptoms can come and go over the course of a patient’s life. Some patients experience months or years of remission in between flare ups.
In severe cases, larger ulcers can stiffen in the bowels and cause obstruction (called strictures), or puncture the bowel walls, causing infection in the abdominal cavity and adjacent organs (called fistula). When inflammation is severe, it can also impact other organs in the body, most commonly the joints, liver and skin.
Inflammatory bowel disease also can lead to issues outside of the intestine, including anemia, eye inflammation, skin ulcers, liver disease, kidney stones, impaired growth, joint pain or osteoporosis.
Up to 1.5 million Americans are thought to have some form of IBD. Nearly 20 to 30 percent of patients with IBD are diagnosed before the age of 20 years.
Our experts are experienced in accurately diagnosing IBD. We first take a full medical history and perform a physical examination.
IBD affects men and women equally and can occur at any age.
Causes of inflammatory bowel disease are still being investigated, but researchers believe that environment, diet, intestinal microbiota and genetics may all play a part.
Current evidence suggests that in people with IBD, a genetic defect affects how the immune system works and how inflammation is triggered in response to an offending agent, like bacteria, a virus or a protein in food.
Approximately 25 percent of IBD patients have a direct relative who also has the disease.
Regionally, IBD is most often found in the United States, Canada and Europe, although cases are rising in industrialized parts of Asia. Jewish Americans are four to five times more likely to develop IBD than the population as a whole.
The goal of treatment is to control inflammation and relieve symptoms of pain, diarrhea and rectal bleeding. Medications can relieve symptoms and also promote the healing of damaged tissue, postpone surgery, keep the disease from flaring up and even put it in remission.
Treatment depends on the location, severity, complications and response to earlier treatment, and can include:
If you or someone you care for is experiencing symptoms that concern you, we encourage you to make an appointment with one of WakeMed’s experienced gastroenterologists.
3000 New Bern Ave.
Raleigh, NC 27610