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Inflammatory Bowel Diseases

Inflammatory bowel disease, also known as IBD, is a term referring to multiple autoimmune conditions affecting the gastrointestinal tract, the most common of which are ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s Disease. A person diagnosed with IBD in Rockville will experience a lifetime of inflammation of the intestine either chronically or episodically. Without treatment, inflammatory bowel disease can lead to serious complications, including bleeding ulcers and an increased risk of colon cancer.

Did you know…

that inflammatory bowel disease affects an estimated 1.4 million Americans? Due to the type and severity of symptoms it produces, most people with IBD are diagnosed before age 30. No one knows what causes inflammatory bowel diseases, though some people may carry a genetic predisposition to IBD. While there is no cure, treatments are available to improve quality of life and minimize long-term complications of the disease.

What are the symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease?

IBD symptoms often mimic those of a GI virus. It is normal to experience abdominal cramping and fever, as well as a loss of appetite. Over time, however, symptoms can grow more severe and include bloody diarrhea, weight loss and nutritional deficiencies. In addition, the symptoms of IBD are either ongoing or recurring, unlike those of a virus which resolve within a few days.

What is the difference between Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis?

Crohn’s is a severe form of IBD that causes inflammation within the entire digestive tract. Ulcerative colitis is less severe, affecting only the large intestine. Diagnosis usually requires a process of elimination to rule out other health problems and diseases that can produce similar symptoms.

What types of IBD treatments are available in Rockville?

Here in Rockville, we are fortunate to have many resources for treating IBD. For many patients, conservative treatment measures, such as the use of immunosuppressants and anti-inflammatory medications are effective for managing IBD. However, some patients will require surgery to achieve adequate relief and improvement in symptoms. IBD surgery can provide a permanent cure for individuals suffering with ulcerative colitis when the entire colon and rectum are removed. Those with Crohn’s however, cannot be cured with surgery; but they may find significant relief when diseased areas of the intestine are removed.