Inflammatory Bowel Disease Specialist

Houston Regional Gastroenterology

Gastroenterology & Hepatology located in Sugar Land, TX & Humble, TX

If you have severe diarrhea, abdominal pain, weight loss, and fatigue, it could be a sign of inflammatory bowel disease, namely ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease. The experts at Houston Regional Gastroenterology, with offices in Sugar Land and Humble, Texas, provide evaluation and support of these chronic conditions that seriously affect your health and quality of life. Call one of the locations or schedule online to learn about diagnosis and treatment options for inflammatory bowel disease.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease Q & A

What is inflammatory bowel disease?

Inflammatory bowel disease, or IBD, describes chronic conditions that inflame your digestive tract. The two major forms of IBD are ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Both cause pain and compromised digestion. You cannot cure IBD, but the management of symptoms is possible, so you live a normal, healthy life.

What are the symptoms of IBD?

Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis share many symptoms. These include:

  • Chronic diarrhea, loose stools, or stools containing blood or pus
  • Fever
  • Fullness in the abdomen
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Pain and tenderness in the abdomen

You may have a reduced appetite and extreme fatigue as part of IBD, too.

What is ulcerative colitis?

Ulcerative colitis causes sores, or ulcers, in your digestive tract. It affects the lining of your colon – the large intestine – and the rectum. You notice symptoms develop with time and, if not managed, can lead to life-threatening complications.

In addition to the above shared symptoms, ulcerative colitis may also cause:

  • Rectal pain
  • Urgency to defecate
  • Inability to defecate despite urgency
  • In children, failure to grow

Ulcerative colitis symptoms range from mild to severe. They also come and go, often with long periods of remission.

Ulcerative colitis may result due to an immune system malfunction. In people with ulcerative colitis, the immune system mistakenly sees the cells in the digestive tract as foreign invaders and attacks them.

What is Crohn’s disease?

Crohn’s disease is another IBD that causes inflammation in the intestines or digestive tract, particularly the colon and ileum. You may hear it called ileitis or enteritis. Crohn’s disease can affect any or all parts of your gut, from your mouth to the anus.

Crohn’s disease usually appears as digestive distress with the shared symptoms above. Additional symptoms include inflammation in the eyes, joints, and skin. Gallstones and kidney stones can be another side effect of Crohn’s disease.

Like ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease is an autoimmune condition; your immune system attacks normal healthy bacteria, food, or viruses in the gut.

How is inflammatory bowel disease treated?

There’s no singular cure for inflammatory bowel disease, but managing symptoms is possible. Good treatment also helps prevent serious complications.

Treatment from Houston Regional Gastroenterology seeks to reduce inflammation using anti-inflammatory drugs and suppressors, dietary strategies, and antibiotics.

In some cases, surgery can eliminate ulcerative colitis – but it’s a drastic step that requires removing your entire colon and rectum. In the case of Crohn’s disease, surgery removes a damaged portion of your digestive tract and resections the healthy parts of your intestine. Surgery doesn’t cure Crohn’s disease, but can ease severe symptoms for a time.

If you have questions about inflammatory bowel disease, call Houston Regional Gastroenterology or schedule online.