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Home > Services > Digestive Health > Digestive Conditions > Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Watch Traci Hedrick, MD, discusses inflammatory bowel disease.
Traci Hedrick, MD, discusses inflammatory bowel disease.

Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) cause inflammation in the GI tract, resulting in pain, bleeding and digestive problems. The two forms of this chronic condition include:

We don't know what causes IBD; genetics may play a role. A lifelong illness, IBD symptoms may occur constantly or just during flare-ups. There is no cure for IBD, but treatments can help control symptoms.

Symptoms of IBD

Symptoms depend on the type of IBD, but common symptoms may include:

  • Abdominal pain and cramping
  • Diarrhea
  • Weight loss and loss of appetite
  • Bleeding from the intestines
  • Ulcers in the intestines
  • Inflammation of the rectum
  • Draining around the rectum
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Joint pain

Diagnosing IBD

Tests to diagnose your condition may include:

IBD Treatment

Dietary Changes

No diet has been proven to reduce inflammation in patients with Crohn’s disease. Your doctor may recommend that you avoid foods that trigger symptoms. As each person may have different triggers, consulting with a dietitian may help.


Available medicines for IBD include:

  • Anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Biologics
  • Immune system suppressors (immunomodulators)


Surgery is not helpful for all types of IBD. For people with very severe ulcerative colitis, a surgery to remove the colon may be performed to cure the disease.


Speak with your doctor to get a referral. 


Content was created using EBSCO’s Health Library. Edits to original content made by Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia. This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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