Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) describes different disorders that cause chronic inflammation of your digestive tract. It can cause symptoms ranging from abdominal discomfort to severe abdominal pain, diarrhea, rectal bleeding and unintentional weight loss, affecting or reducing quality of life.
With this IBD, you may alternate between active symptoms followed by times of remission. Inflammatory bowel disease is a challenging condition, but at The University of Kansas Health System in Kansas City, we can help.
What is IBD?
Inflammatory bowel disease affects about 1.6 million Americans. For some, IBD causes just mild symptoms, but for others, the condition is more severe and interferes with daily living and enjoyment of life.
IBD occurs when a dysregulation in the immune system causes inflammation and damage to the digestive system’s lining. IBD can also affect other body parts, causing oral ulcers or lesions, skin lesions, eye problems, joint pain or anemia.
Types of IBD
IBD may present in several forms.
Crohn's disease can affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract from mouth to anus, but most commonly involves the small intestine.
Microscopic colitis is inflammation in the colon that can be seen under a microscope.
Ulcerative colitis usually causes inflammation and ulcers in the large intestine and rectum.
IBD symptoms and risks
While the exact causes of IBD are unknown, it is important to recognize the risk factors. IBD affects men and women equally and tends to run in families.
It is important to meet with an experienced IBD specialist to obtain an accurate diagnosis. IBD experts evaluate patients with chronic diarrhea and abdominal pain to identify possible IBD. They will run a series of investigations to arrive at an accurate diagnosis.
You should visit your healthcare provider and IBD specialist if you have:
- Abdominal pain or cramping
- An urgent need to have a bowel movement or the feeling that a bowel movement is incomplete
- Eye problems
- Oral problems
- Rectal bleeding
- Skin lesions or redness
- Weight loss
IBD diagnosis and screening
Before testing, you'll receive a thorough physical and your doctor will ask for a detailed medical history. Your doctor may also order a blood draw to check your red and white blood cell counts. A high white blood cell count is a sign of inflammatory bowel disease. Other tests may include a stool culture, an upper endoscopy, a colonoscopy or a biopsy of your colon. You may be asked to swallow a tiny camera capsule that will help us capture images along your entire digestive tract.
The IBD experts at The University of Kansas Health System in Kansas City collaborate as a team to provide comprehensive, coordinated care. Leading the first and only multidisciplinary IBD clinic of its kind in the state of Kansas, our doctors work together to accurately diagnose patients and create individualized treatment plans.
Our team offers a complete range of medical, surgical and complementary treatment options depending upon your individual goals and disease progression. We treat not only IBD itself, but also the related symptoms and challenges that show the disease is affecting other parts of the body. We treat every person holistically.
Beyond ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, our experts treat:
- Autoimmune enteropathy
- Bowel stricture
- Chronic diarrhea
- Eosinophilic gastroenteritis
- Peri-anal abscess
- Peri-anal fistula
- Rectal bleeding
- Short bowel syndrome or short gut syndrome
We also offer education and support for ostomy care and reversal.
Our infusion center provides expertise and convenience for patients receiving infusions for IBD treatment. Your infusion will be administered at one of our health system locations, but subsequent infusions can be received in your home for your ease and comfort.
Why choose us for IBD care
- As the teaching hospital affiliated with the University of Kansas Medical Center, our team is involved in research and clinical trials. We hope these will yield additional treatments and even a cure for IBD. Our patients can often participate in clinical trials not available elsewhere.
- Our IBD specialists are among the nation’s leaders in providing comprehensive care for this chronic disease and its complications. We deliver treatment with skill and compassion. We build relationships that support you through all phases of medical, surgical and complementary care.
- We offer you the combined experience of a multidisciplinary team. Specialists working together bring viewpoints that lead to personalized care plans. These clinical leaders together form an IBD center of excellence, the first and only one of its kind in the state of Kansas.
- We provide care at the Medical Pavilion on our main campus in Kansas City and also have a dedicated IBD clinic at The University of Kansas Health System Indian Creek Campus. The first-class venue extends access to advanced care into Overland Park, Kansas, providing both quality and convenience. We also provide care at the Quivira Multispecialty Clinic in Overland Park.
Find a doctor
Doctors at The University of Kansas Health System are care providers and researchers at the forefront of new medical discoveries. From primary care to complex conditions, we offer hundreds of specialists.
IBD resources and support
These organizations provide resources to help you learn more about inflammatory bowel disease and related conditions.