Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is the umbrella that covers Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and microscopic colitis. Together around 1.4 million Americans are affected by these diseases. In fact, each year nearly 30,000 new cases of Crohn’s and colitis are diagnosed. However, most of us are unaware of inflammatory bowel disease symptoms, signs and treatment available to manage these diseases.
Many people confuse inflammatory bowel disease with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Inflammatory bowel disease involves true inflammation that physicians can see during examination or on biopsy during a colonoscopy. The disease requires medication and sometimes surgery to treat the abnormally inflamed areas. Patients with irritable bowel syndrome do not suffer inflammation but may have similar symptoms. Irritable bowel syndrome patients do not require surgery, but do require the coordinated care of a gastroenterology team.
IBD is a chronic condition, which cannot be cured. However, it can be managed and is not fatal. In fact, physicians who treat this disease expect most patients to live normal and productive lives. Our IBD specialists work with the patient to develop a personalized IBD treatment plan. This is especially reassuring for our patients with IBD who are pregnant or planning to conceive, as they may have special concerns or questions about how their disease can be managed.
To advance knowledge and improve IBD treatment, NorthShore is one of a few institutions in the country conducting research in the area of microscopic colitis (collagenous and lymphocytic colitis) through independent research and clinical trials. Not well understood, this condition is a common a problem with symptoms that can severely impact quality of life if left untreated.
NorthShore offers an IBD Information and Support Group dedicated to helping patients, and their families and friends cope more effectively with IBD.
For More Information
For more information on inflammatory bowel disease symptoms and treatment, or to schedule an appointment with an IBD specialist, please call 847.657.1900.