Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) refers to a group of disorders that cause chronic inflammation of your gastrointestinal, or GI, tract. The two most common types are Crohn’s disease
and ulcerative colitis, which affect millions of Americans. The exact cause of these conditions is not known, although immune system changes and heredity may be factors.
We understand that living with chronic symptoms can be challenging. At UF Health Jacksonville, our team of gastroenterologists are experts in their field and dedicated to finding appropriate methods to help you manage these conditions.
- Crohn’s disease can cause inflammation to occur anywhere along the GI tract, from the mouth to the large intestine, also known as the colon. However, the most common areas to be affected are the small and large intestines.
- Inflammation in Crohn’s disease can affect all the layers of the intestine and move through the entire thickness, leading to complications with other organs or scarring that can cause a narrowing of the intestine.
- Symptoms vary but often include abdominal pain, diarrhea, weight loss and fatigue.
- Though the disease is most often diagnosed in adolescents and adults ages 20 to 30, it can occur at any age.
- Crohn’s disease is a lifelong condition that requires monitoring and treatment to manage the symptoms.
- The inflammation from ulcerative colitis typically occurs in the upper lining of the intestinal wall. It usually begins in the lower portion of the colon, but can spread throughout.
- For patients with ulcerative colitis, their immune systems continue to fight illness or infection for far too long, which produces chronic inflammation and sometimes ulcers.
- Symptoms can include increased bowel movements, mucous in the stool, fatigue and abdominal pain.
Inflammatory bowel disease: Our expertise
For both Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis, your specialist may order blood and stool tests, scans such as CT or MRI, scoping tests such as a colonoscopy to examine the small and large intestines or an endoscopy to examine the esophagus and the stomach.
The goal for treatment is to help patients achieve remission and avoid relapses. Our gastroenterologists may prescribe one or more medications to reduce inflammation. They may also coordinate your care with nutritionists, surgeons and other experts.
Patient-centered, personalized care
Our gastroenterologists have significant expertise with inflammatory bowel disease. They will work with you to develop an individualized, ongoing plan to minimize symptoms, maintain overall health and nutrition and improve your quality of life. Although there is no cure for inflammatory bowel disease, our specialists can provide comprehensive care to get you back to doing the things you enjoy.