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Expert care to help you heal
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) refers to chronic disorders that cause parts of your digestive system to become inflamed. Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis are two of the most common types. Others include pouchitis and microscopic colitis.
IBD can leave you feeling miserable. If left untreated, it may also increase your risk for more serious health problems, including colon cancer. At UW Health, we treat IBD through Digestive Health Services.
Symptoms and diagnosis
Evaluating your symptoms
If you experience symptoms of IBD you should bring them to your provider’s attention. With a referral, we can evaluate your symptoms with several tests. We also provide second opinions.
Symptoms of IBD include:
Frequent bowel movements
Nausea and vomiting
Your symptoms may come and go. You can experience a flare-up and then be symptom-free for a time.
When you come to us, we will talk with you about your symptoms. We may also order one or more tests:
Tests used to look for inflammation and other signs of bowel conditions.
A test that involves swallowing a tiny camera in a capsule that passes through your digestive tract. The camera sends a video to a monitor.
A test that allows us to view your large intestine with the aid of a thin, flexible tube with a lighted camera on its tip that’s passed through your anus. Watching on a monitor, we look for signs of inflammation or bleeding. We can also take a tissue sample if necessary.
Imaging studies that use a special dye. They help us view your digestive tract. A CT involves radiation, an MR does not.
A type of imaging test that takes X-rays from several different angles.
Tests to show blood or signs of inflammation.
Treatments and research
Helping you get results and relief
Treatment for IBD focuses on helping you manage your symptoms and protect your long-term health. We personalize care to your specific needs. If you have complex IBD we may treat you through our Inflammatory Bowel Disease Clinic.
IBD treatments include:
Changes to your diet and eating habits
Fiber supplements or laxatives
If these therapies don’t control your symptoms, surgery may be an option. Surgeons in the Colon and Rectal Surgery group at UW Health are leaders in the surgical treatment of IBD. They use minimally invasive techniques whenever possible. These surgeries use smaller incisions and often result in less pain than open procedures.
Our team engages in research and clinical trials. We can often offer you promising new medicines as part of your treatment. In many cases, the drugs we’ve tested have greatly improved patients’ lives. More are being tested today.
Meet our team
Controlling your symptoms, helping you enjoy better health
Our team includes experienced gastroenterologists, nurses and registered dietitians. Imaging specialists, health psychologists and colon and rectal surgeons may be part of your care team as well.
At UW Health, you get the latest treatments
Patient and support services
More resources to help you learn about IBD.