Chronic conditions that inflame the gastrointestinal tract

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are chronic disorders that cause inflammation within the gastrointestinal tract. Two examples are Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Crohn’s disease is associated with inflammation anywhere along the gastrointestinal tract. Ulcerative colitis is usually found in the large intestine, the last part of the gastrointestinal tract. Other chronic inflammatory diseases that are frequently grouped with IBD include microscopic colitis, eosinophilic enterocolitis, autoimmune enteritis and immunodeficiency syndromes that affect the bowels. Although IBD symptoms are very mild for some patients, others may experience severe or life-threatening complications.

Currently, there are no cures for these conditions. However, there are a variety of effective medical and surgical treatments available that can improve symptoms, reduce the frequency and severity of disease activity and provide better quality of life. If you have been diagnosed with IBD, it is important to be evaluated by a specialist trained in providing the necessary care.

View Gastroenterology and Hepatology

Symptoms, Diagnosis and Outlook

If you have IBD, you may experience a variety of symptoms, including many that may seem unrelated.

Common symptoms include:

  • Fatigue
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Urgency to use the bathroom
  • Bleeding
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Rashes
  • Oral sores
  • Joint pain
  • Eye pain or redness
  • Kidney stones
  • Primary sclerosing cholangitis

Testing may include:

  • Physical examination
  • Blood tests
  • Stool tests
  • Endoscopy (colonoscopy, upper endoscopy, video capsule endoscopy)
  • Imaging studies (X-rays, ultrasounds, computed tomography scans, MRIs)

Medications may include:

  • Mesalamines
  • Immunomodulators
  • Biologic and small molecule medications
  • Corticosteroids
  • Antibiotics

Related Services and Treatments

Meet the Team

Additional Team Members

  • Heather Tressler, ME.d, RD, LDN, MCHES, Registered IBD Dietitian
  • August Stuart, IBD Research Data Coordinator

Why Choose Penn State Health for Care

Penn State Health IBD medical experts are part of central Pennsylvania’s only dedicated IBD center. Our gastroenterologists are highly trained and specialize in IBD patient care. We work directly with the center’s colorectal surgeons and collaborate closely with other specialty services to develop individualized patient treatment plans. We design and participate in regular IBD medical conferences dedicated to improving care for our patients and educating medical professionals and the community. Additionally, our entire team is involved in leading-edge research to better understand and treat these conditions.