Ulcerative Colitis|Crohns Disease

Condition

Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s disease are also known as Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). These are autoimmune conditions which wreak havoc on digestive tract structure and function if not addressed in a timely fashion. They cause inflammation of the gut which predisposes to problems with malabsorption, scarring, and cancer risk. They have a hereditary predisposition making them common in families although this is not always the case. Patients who have these conditions also are at risk for other autoimmune conditions such as autoimmune liver disease, autoimmune thyroid disease(hashimoto’s thyroiditis, graves disease), joint diseases (rheumatoid arthritis, polyarthritis, myositis), skin diseases (dermatitis), lupus (SLE), eye diseases (iritis or uveitis) and celiac disease.

Symptoms

Symptoms of Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease include abdominal pain, bleeding, bloating, nausea, lack of appetite, diarrhea, and/or weight loss. Constipation may also be rarely present.

Diagnostic Labs

Labs often reveal elevated WBC or inflammatory markers such as C-reactive protein (CRP) or sedimentation rate (ESR). Stool studies are performed to r/o infections such as Clostridium Difficile infection which can commonly be present along with the conditions. Stool studies such as stool white blood cells and calprotectin are markers of inflammation in the colon or small intestine and may also be helpful in elucidating the diagnosis.

Other Tests

Imaging exams, such as CT scans, endoscopy, and / or colonoscopy may also be necessary. Colonoscopy with microscopic analysis of biopsies is the gold standard.

Treatment

Treatment involves dietary modification as well as medications. Anti-inflammatory medications dramatically improve quality of life for our patients so that they do not have to live with annoying or embarassing symptoms as well as decrease risk of complications associated with the disease such as colon cancer. Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease are two of the most common conditions our specialists treat. Your providers will formulate a personalized and specific treatment plan during your consultation.

Patient Education

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Top 10 Reasons to Join a Celiac Support Group

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Recently, I ran into Bernice Hettesheimer at Jersey Shore University Medical Center’s Endoscopy section.  For those of you who don’t know her, Bernice is a retired endoscopy nurse who now runs the Jersey Shore Celiac Support Group. She writes about the Top 10 Reasons to..

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