Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a broad term that describes conditions in which the gastrointestinal tract is inflamed due to an abnormal immune response, causing pain and a variety of other symptoms. Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are the two main types of IBD.

Overview and Symptoms


Although IBD is a chronic disease with no known cure, treatments are available to manage the symptoms and inflammation. The goal of medical treatment is to suppress the abnormal inflammatory response so intestinal tissue has a chance to heal. As it does, the symptoms of diarrhea and abdominal pain should be relieved. Once the symptoms are under control, medical treatment will focus on decreasing the frequency of flare-ups and maintaining remission.

Treatments include:

  • Anti-inflammatory, diarrheal, antispasmodics, and acid suppressant medications for symptom relief, as well as short-term corticosteroid medications
  • Medications called biologics that work by blocking the action of specific proteins or receptors of inflammation. They are designed to help restore the body’s ability to fight the disease. There are currently six biologic therapies approved for the treatment of IBD.
  • Although no specific diet has been shown to prevent or treat IBD, dietary changes may be helpful in managing your symptoms. It’s important to talk with your doctor about ways to modify your diet while making sure you get the nutrients you need.
  • Surgery may be necessary when medications no longer control the symptoms of IBD. Surgical treatment removes the affected portion of the bowel