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Inflammatory Bowel Disease Specialist

GI Specialists of Houston, LLP -  - Gastroenterology

GI Specialists of Houston, LLP

Gastroenterology located in Baytown, TX & Houston, TX

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a life-long condition that can cause disabling gastrointestinal problems. If you have IBD, GI Specialists of Houston, LLP, can help. The practice has locations in Baytown, North Loop, Houston, and Humble, Texas, where the experienced gastroenterology team provides the most advanced treatments for IBD disorders, Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. To benefit from their expertise in managing IBD, call the most convenient office of GI Specialists of Houston, LLP, today or book an appointment online.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease Q & A

What is inflammatory bowel disease?

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) isn't a single condition but covers several diseases that cause severe gastrointestinal inflammation. The two main forms of inflammatory bowel disease are Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.

Doctors suspect that inflammatory bowel disease is an autoimmune disorder. That means it arises when your immune system attacks healthy cells in your gastrointestinal tract as though they were invading microorganisms. Why this should happen in some people isn't completely clear, but there could be a genetic link.

You're more likely to develop inflammatory bowel disease before the age of 30, but it can affect people at any age. IBD can be life-changing and cause severe disability; some patients may suffer from life-threatening complications.

What symptoms does inflammatory bowel disease cause?

Crohn's disease can cause problems anywhere along your gastrointestinal tract, while ulcerative colitis only affects your rectum and large intestine (bowel). The two forms of inflammatory bowel disease both cause symptoms such as:

  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Cramping
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Bloody stools
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Reduced appetite
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Fever

You may also develop problems like tenesmus (the uncontrollable urge to strain even when there is no stool present), fecal incontinence, fistulas, and potentially life-threatening complications such as toxic megacolon.

How is inflammatory bowel disease diagnosed?

Following a detailed review of your medical history and symptoms, plus a physical exam, your provider at GI Specialists of Houston, LLP, might take blood or stool samples for analysis in the lab.

If the results indicate you might have inflammatory bowel disease, you might need to undergo an investigative procedure such as a colonoscopy to examine your bowel.

Your provider can see any inflamed or ulcerated tissue and do a biopsy to confirm the diagnosis. An alternative is a capsule endoscopy, where you swallow a pill-sized camera that travels along your digestive system.

How is inflammatory bowel disease treated?

Inflammatory bowel disease is incurable, but with help from GI Specialists of Houston, LLP,  you can successfully manage your symptoms. Patients often experience periods of remission lasting for months or even years with the right treatment.

For most patients, the team's first treatment for inflammatory bowel disease is an aminosalicylate medication like mesalamine. These drugs, also known as 5-ASAs, help to reduce gastrointestinal inflammation. You can take them as oral granules, suppositories, or both.

What can I do if my IBD symptoms persist?

If 5-ASAs aren't providing sufficient relief from your symptoms, your provider at GI Specialists of Houston, LLP, might suggest a course of steroids for their anti-inflammatory properties.

Immunosuppressants like azathioprine and cyclosporine can help by reducing your immune system response, or you might benefit from targeted therapy using biologic medications.

If you have symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease, get an accurate diagnosis and expert treatment at GI Specialists of Houston, LLP. Call the nearest office or book an appointment online today.