A Patient's Guide to IBD
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a group of long-term intestinal diseases that cause inflammation in your digestive tract. Approximately 1-2 million Americans are affected by IBD, the two most common forms being ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease.
If you have IBD, the team of experts at the Cedars-Sinai Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center will work with you to accurately diagnose and treat your IBD symptoms most effectively, so you can continue to live your life to the fullest.
Typical Signs & Symptoms
Specific signs and symptoms of IBD can vary depending on the type and location of the condition, and the extent of the inflammation. Symptoms can range from mild to severe and may even go away completely at times.
IBD is different for each individual and can include:
- Abdominal pain
- Growth delay
- Loss of appetite
- Perianal disease (fissures, infections or abscesses)
- Pronounced pubertal delay
- Rectal bleeding
- Unexplained joint swelling or skin rash
- Unintentional weight loss
Given the similarities of IBD symptoms, an accurate diagnosis is the best way to identify your condition and find an appropriate treatment plan to help you maintain a healthy lifestyle. Our experts are experienced in accurately identifying this frequently misdiagnosed disease. The causes of IBD remain unknown, but they likely include a combination of genetic, immune and environmental factors.
The Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center performs a complete medical history and physical examination as well as diagnostic procedures for ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease, which may include:
- Blood tests
- CT scan
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Radiology studies
- Stool studies
- Upper endoscopy
- Upper gastrointestinal series
- Video capsule endoscopy
Managing Your Condition
There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to treating your IBD condition. Depending on the location and severity of your condition, the IBD specialists at Cedars-Sinai will partner with you to formulate a personal treatment plan unique to your condition and goals. Using a combination of common and advanced therapy and treatment options, our goal is to help minimize your symptoms and maintain your disease in long-standing remission. The Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center focuses on a comprehensive multidisciplinary approach to your care, including IBD specialists working closely with dietitians, social workers, specialist nurses, surgeons, radiologists and pathologists.
In addition, the Cedars-Sinai Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center offers unique clinics focused on particular aspects affecting patients with IBD. These include:
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Fertility Clinic
- J-Pouch Clinic
- Nutrition and Integrative Inflammatory Bowel Disease Program
- Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease Program
Find an Expert/Get a Second Opinion
Looking for an IBD specialist or need a second opinion? You will find a highly skilled team of specialists in gastroenterology who collaborate with an integrated team to provide focused and individualized care.
What to Expect on Your Visit
A welcome package will be sent to you at the time of scheduling your appointment. This will include directions to the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center. Please complete the pre-visit questionnaire prior to your appointment date.
After registering and completing an initial intake, anticipate being seen by each member of the team deemed appropriate. Each person will be asking questions designed to gather details related to their field of expertise.
Typically, the last person will be one of the expert doctors, who will spend time discussing their assessment and reviewing the individualized plan created for you. The visit can take over 2 hours, as each team member will give you their undivided attention and make sure you understand all of the recommendations.
Psychosocial Support for Patients Living With IBD
At the Cedars-Sinai Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Center, we care about the behavioral and emotional impact that IBD has on a person's life. We know that treating gut inflammation alone is not enough—we must treat the entire person. We recognize the role stress, anxiety and depression may play in worsening IBD symptoms.
For patients living with IBD, our multidisciplinary team is here to provide care, support and resources to help you manage symptoms and better cope with your health condition.
The Cedars-Sinai IBD Center provides multiple services to patients living with IBD, including:
- Social workers who offer assistance and guidance for IBD patients in a variety of ways
- Nutritional support
- Mental health referrals
- A monthly IBD support group
- Psychiatric medication consultations with our IBD-focused psychiatrist
- Help with paperwork required for academic- or employer-related leave
Cedars-Sinai patients living with IBD are able to see their physician, a dietician and a social worker all within the same visit. We also work with patients to monitor their physical, mental and emotional health during their treatment.
Cedars-Sinai is committed to improving quality of life for patients living with IBD. Gil Melmed, MD, co-director of the Clinical Inflammatory Bowel Disease program, is also co-chair of IBD Qorus, a nationwide health network designed to improve care and health outcomes for patients living with IBD. The Cedars-Sinai IBD Center is currently involved in research focusing on reducing the burden of illness and improving quality of life for patients with IBD.
Advances in IBD Research
Not only will you find comprehensive patient care at the Cedars-Sinai Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center, you will also benefit from industry-leading research efforts. The Inflammatory Bowel and Immunobiology Research Institute conducts extensive basic, translational and clinical research in IBD, including clinical trials, studies on the role of genetics and laboratory work to invent new treatments that drive the latest advances in the field of IBD.
Find the latest clinical trials and research being conducted at Cedars-Sinai to advance medical knowledge of IBD and treatment.
Sidelining Crohn's Disease
For Julia Philbrick, life revolves around family, friends and volleyball—not Crohn's disease. "Crohn's isn't the No. 1 thing in my life," she says. "My family and my doctors help me keep it to the sidelines, so it's not the main thing I'm dealing with."
How You Can Help
Inflammatory bowel disease is on the rise. Help us take one step closer to the cure. With your support, the researchers and clinical experts at the Cedars-Sinai Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center will continue to unravel the mysteries of this disease.