What is inflammatory bowel disease?
Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are chronic, common illnesses of the digestive tract.
NYGA doctors are leading experts nationally and regionally in IBD. We have performed important research in the field, lecture widely in IBD, and have one of the largest IBD practices in the Tristate area. In fact, our Dr. Asher Arthur Kornbluth wrote the ulcerative colitis chapter in the leading English-language GI textbook.
The cause of IBD is unknown, but the immune system plays a major role. Inflammatory bowel disease causes inflammation of the lining and deeper tissues of the digestive tract. It can result in diarrhea, rectal bleeding, painful cramping and bloating. It can also cause symptoms outside of the GI tract such as joint pains, rashes, eye inflammation, and systemic symptoms such as fevers, fatigue and weight loss.
Are there multiple types of inflammatory bowel disease?
Yes. The two primary types are ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, and there are multiple varieties of each of these. One of the primary differences between Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis is that in Crohn’s disease, inflammation can occur anywhere in your digestive tract, from your mouth to your rectum, while in ulcerative colitis, inflammation is restricted to your colon and rectum.
How is IBD diagnosed?
A careful diagnosis is essential to ensure the best and most appropriate treatment. If IBD is suspected based on your physical exam and symptoms, you may be given a colonoscopy or endoscopy so our doctors can see into your digestive tract and investigate for inflammation. A small tissue sample, or biopsy, may be taken to confirm the diagnosis. Blood tests, stool samples, and diagnostic imaging may help to rule out other conditions.
How is inflammatory bowel disease treated?
We treat IBD with medication to help reduce inflammation or to control the immune system response. We work in concert with a variety of affiliated experts, including dieticians, endocrinologists, psychologists, and surgeons. Fortunately, novel targeted medications effectively treat the disease in most patients, usually with few adverse effects. If we recommend medications by intravenous infusion, as is often the case, we can administer the drug in our office based infusion center, under our direct supervision. Sometimes, lifestyle changes can also help. Regular follow up is crucial to keep a patient in remission and prevent complications from chronic inflammation such as abscesses, strictures, and the need for surgery.
The Doctors of NYGA: IBD in our history
NYGA physicians trained with the students of Dr. Burrill Crohn, MD, who described Crohn’s Disease. Dr. Crohn spent his medical career at Mount Sinai Hospital and rose in rank to Chief of Gastroenterology in 1920.
Dr. Crohn’s students went on to become leading, nationally recognized gastroenterologists in their own right, making breakthrough contributions to the diagnosis and management of inflammatory bowel diseases. And they, in turn, instilled Dr. Crohn’s expertise and pioneering spirit into students like us.
At NYGA, we are proud to extend the heritage of Dr. Crohn. NYGA represents the third generation of Mount Sinai-based GI leadership in inflammatory bowel disease.
We in turn are passing the torch as we train our own students at Mount Sinai.
And Dr. Crohn’s legacy continues.