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Other Disorders of the Colon

Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Diverticulosis/Diverticulitis

What is inflammatory bowel disease?

Inflammatory bowel disease (or IBD) is a condition that causes the wall of the colon to become inflamed. There are two types of IBD: ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohns' disease (CD). While both can affect the colon, CD can occur anywhere from the mouth to the anus.

Signs of IBD include: abdominal pain and cramps, bloody diarrhea, rectal bleeding, vomiting and weight loss. People with IBD are also at a higher risk of developing a liver disease called primary sclerosing cholangitis. IBD is usually diagnosed through endoscopy. A colonoscopy can detect problems in the colon and large intestine. An esophagogastroduodenoscopy (or EGD) is a procedure performed by a gastroenterologist to examine the mouth, esophagus, stomach and parts of the small intestine.

There are several treatment options for IBD. Usually, medications by mouth are the first choice, but if symptoms return or if there are complications, then surgery may be an option. 

Find more information on inflammatory bowel disease here.

For a physician who specializes in treatment of inflammatory bowel disease here or call 866 DIGEST-1.

To contact NYM's Division of Gastroenterology, call 718.780.3851.

What are diverticular disease (or diverticulosis) and diverticulitis?

Diverticulosis occurs when pouches form in the large intestine and bulge out. Normally, this does not cause problems, but if the pouch becomes infected (diverticulitis), it could be life-threatening. Diverticulosis is uncommon before the age of 40, but people with chronic constipation or low fiber or high fat diets (including red meats) may start to form these pouches. Usually people do not have any signs or symptoms, but some may have bloating, changes in bowel movements (worsening constipation or diarrhea), or cramp-like abdominal pain. 

In diverticulitis, the pouches become inflamed and infections can occur. This is a potentially life-threatening disease since the colon may perforate (or burst) or the infection may pass into the blood (called bacteremia or sepsis). Diverticulitis requires hospitalization and treatment with antibiotics. If it is very severe or occurs frequently, then surgery to remove the pouches is performed. 

Diverticulosis or diverticulitis can be diagnosed from an x-ray of the abdomen, barium x-ray (, CT scan, or colonoscopy. There are no specific blood tests for this, but if there is an infection, then blood tests are performed to determine whether there is bacteria in the blood, and if so, what type of the best antibiotic treatment can be chosen. 

Find a physician who specializes in treatment of digestive disorders here or call 866 DIGEST-1.

To contact NYM's Division of Gastroenterology, call 718.780.3851.

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