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About Inflammatory Bowel Disease

March 9, 2015


Inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis can be debilitating illnesses. But as Drexel gastroenterologist Neilanjan Nandi, MD, explains, there are new medications available that can make a big difference in a person’s health and quality of life.


IBD stands for inflammatory bowel diseases and there’s two large groups or subcategories: Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, and other entities that are sort of lumped into this family of IBD. Crohn’s is a disease in which you have intestinal ulcers that can occur anywhere from mouth to rectum. So if you think of the intestinal or digestive tract as one long tube, you can have inflammation anywhere from mouth to rectum in kind of a patchy fashion.

Ulcerative colitis on the other hand is where you have inflammation or ulcers that are just confined to the large intestine, or the lower part of your intestinal tract. That’s the big difference between the two. Some of the symptoms of these diseases are very severe. Many times people can have diarrhea that is unrelenting, they can have blood in their stools, severe abdominal pains, they can develop collections of infections known as abcesses in their abdomen, they can even have abnormal connections between the intestine to other parts of their body that don’t normally connect. These are called fistulas. These symptoms can be very debilitating, very life-changing.

Oftentimes these diseases can be diagnosed in the prime of life – adolescence or age twenties. For decades, the standard of care for these types of diseases was steroids. Steroids, unfortunately, while they work, carry lots of side effects. So we’ve developed newer medications that suppress the immune system, but just enough without all the bad steroid side effects. These are very, very cutting-edge types of therapeutics that we can offer here at Drexel. Some of these are through the IV, but many are more commonly now through oral pills or self-injection. The injections don’t hurt and the tremendous change in the person’s health is truly gratifying.

Drexel Gastroenterology

Drexel Gastroenterology expertly treats patients with digestive health disorders. Our regionally and nationally recognized experts work with your primary care physician to ensure the highest standard of care. Our patients have access to Drexel Medicine's Center for Digestive Health, which has been recognized for quality and safety by the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE) and provides outpatient colonoscopies in a comfortable setting.

The information on these pages is provided for general information only and should not be used for diagnosis or treatment, or as a substitute for consultation with a physician or health care professional. If you have specific questions or concerns about your health, you should consult your health care professional.

The images being used are for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted is a model.

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