Inflammatory Bowel Disease
North Carolina Surgery prides itself on its tradition of excellence in colorectal surgery. Our surgeons are specialists in all aspects of colorectal surgery, and when possible utilize laparoscopic techniques to minimize patient discomfort and recovery time.
Our expertise is derived from years of experience in performing everything from routine outpatient procedures to highly complex procedures. Despite the complexity of the procedures, our surgeons are always focused on our patients' safety and outcome, and have an extraordinary record of patient success and satisfaction.
The inflammatory bowel disease procedures in wich we specialize include but are not limited to:
Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease that can affect the entire gastrointestinal tract. It is most commonly found, however, in the lower part of the small intestine.
Crohn’s disease is thought to be caused by the body’s immune system attacking the good bacteria, instead of just the bad, in the stomach. This leads to inflammation. Because it is a chronic condition, most people will have periods of illness followed by remission, where they don’t have symptoms, throughout their lives.
Symptoms of Crohn’s disease include:
- Ongoing diarrhea or urgent bowel movements
- Bleeding from the rectum
- Stomach pain and cramps
- Loss of appetite and weight loss
Crohn’s is more common in people ages 15 to 35. Risk factors for Crohn’s include having a family member with the condition and being of Eastern European descent.
Tests used to diagnose Crohn’s disease include taking a stool sample and X-rays. An upper endoscopy may be used to check the top of the gastrointestinal tract and a colonoscopy may be used to check the colon and lower part.
There are a handful of treatments used for patients with Crohn’s disease. The first is often medication. Drugs like steroids, sulfasalazine and biological therapies are used to reduce inflammation. Medications that suppress the immune system and antibiotics to treat bacterial growth may also be prescribed.
Physicians sometimes recommend that patients eat a healthy diet and avoid spicy foods, dairy and alcohol, which can aggravate symptoms. Cigarette smoking can also worsen symptoms and increase complications of the condition.
Many patients require one or more surgeries to treat Crohn’s disease. Surgery is used to remove blockage in the bowels or to remove the diseased part or larger portions of the gastrointestinal tract.
For more information, visit the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America.
Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease that affects the internal lining of the colon, also known as the large intestine.
It occurs when the body attacks the good bacteria and organisms as well as the invading organisms in the stomach. White blood cells are sent to the intestine, causing chronic inflammation and other damage.
Ulcerative colitis usually occurs before the age of 30. It is most common in Caucasians and people with a family history of the condition. Symptoms include:
- Loose and urgent bowel movements
- Frequent diarrhea
- Bloody stools
- Cramps, pain and bloating in the stomach
- Appetite loss and weight loss
Tests used to diagnose ulcerative colitis include a stool sample, barium enema and X-rays or CT scans. A colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy (tubes inserted into the anus) may also be used to provide physicians images of the colon.
There are a handful of treatments used for patients with ulcerative colitis. The first is often medication. Drugs like steroids, sulfasalazine and biological therapies are used to reduce inflammation. Medications that suppress the immune system and antibiotics to treat bacteria growth may also be prescribed.
Physicians sometimes recommend that patients eat a healthy diet and avoid spicy or high-fiber foods, which can aggravate symptoms.
Surgery is an option for the small number of patients who aren’t successfully treated with medications and lifestyle changes. Surgery usually means removal of the colon. A pouch is created inside the body to catch waste.
For more information on ulcerative colitis, visit the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America.