Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

What is IBD?

Inflammatory Bowel Disease is a set of conditions that affects the colon and small intestine. There are two primary forms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Both are classified as autoimmune disorders. An autoimmune disorder is a condition that takes place when the body's immune system errantly attacks its own healthy tissue.

Together these disorders, which may run in families, affect more than three million Americans with men and women being equally affected. Although a compromised immune response is implicated in the typical inflammatory reactions in the intestinal wall, the triggering event, possibly a bacterial or viral infection, is as yet unknown.

What are the symptoms of IBD?

Symptoms may include:

  • persistent abdominal pain
  • bowel sores
  • diarrhea
  • intestinal bleeding
  • weight loss

In some cases, the inflammatory processes associated with Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis trigger skin lesions, joint pain, inflammation of the eyes, and liver disorders.

Diagnosing IBD

Inflammatory bowel diseases are diagnosed through:

  • physical examination
  • tests for anemia resulting from blood loss in the stool
  • increased white blood cells indicative of an inflammatory condition
  • Cross-sectional imaging such as MR (magnetic resonance) or CT (computerized tomography) enterography to look at the intestines from your mouth to your bottom
  • X-rays (small bowel follow-through and/or barium enema), which can indicate abnormal inflammation, thickening or constriction of the small intestine and colon
  • Samples of inflamed intestinal tissue may also be taken for microscopic examination.

What are the treatments for IBD?

Treatment for both disorders includes:

  • Advanced therapies such as biologics or small molecules, immunomodulators, or mesalimines
  • Dietary adjustments
  • Surgery

Why choose us?

MUSC Health's IBD Medical Home offers:

  • Diagnostic testing, from routine lab work and colonoscopies to advanced studies, including chromoendoscopy, balloon enteroscopy, and video capsule endoscopy
  • Tailored treatment plans, including the latest medication therapies designed to optimize symptom and disease management
  • Collaborative visits with our IBD/colorectal surgeons
  • All urgent IBD patient appointments within days of referral
  • More than 20 clinical trials in investigative drug therapies, diagnostics and nutrition

MUSC Health's new IBD Medical Home further enhances our team's ability to provide precision medicine and personalized care for every patient, helping individuals live healthier, more fulfilling lives.

Find a Provider

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View providers that specialize in inflammatory bowel disease at MUSC Health.

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IBD Experts

The Inflammatory Bowel Disease medical home at MUSC Health brings together IBD experts from multiple specialties including gastroenterologists, surgeons, behavioral health experts, social workers, nurse practitioners, dietitians and others. To learn more about our faculty and care team members, visit the Division of Gastroenterology & Hepatology website.