A Patient's Guide to IBD

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a group of long-term intestinal diseases that cause inflammation in your digestive tract. Approximately 1-2 million Americans are affected by IBD, the two most common forms being ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease.

If you have IBD, the team of experts at the Cedars-Sinai Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center will work with you to accurately diagnose and treat your IBD symptoms most effectively, so you can continue to live your life to the fullest.

Typical Signs & Symptoms

Specific signs and symptoms of IBD can vary depending on the type and location of the condition, and the extent of the inflammation. Symptoms can range from mild to severe and may even go away completely at times.

IBD is different for each individual and can include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Anemia
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Growth delay
  • Loss of appetite
  • Perianal disease (fissures, infections or abscesses)
  • Pronounced pubertal delay
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Unexplained joint swelling or skin rash
  • Unintentional weight loss

Diagnosing IBD

Given the similarities of IBD symptoms, an accurate diagnosis is the best way to identify your condition and find an appropriate treatment plan to help you maintain a healthy lifestyle. Our experts are experienced in accurately identifying this frequently misdiagnosed disease. The causes of IBD remain unknown, but they likely include a combination of genetic, immune and environmental factors. 

The Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center performs a complete medical history and physical examination as well as diagnostic procedures for ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease, which may include:

  • Blood tests
  • Colonoscopy
  • CT scan
  • Endoscopy
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Radiology studies
  • Stool studies
  • Upper endoscopy
  • Upper gastrointestinal series
  • Video capsule endoscopy

Managing Your Condition

There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to treating your IBD condition. Depending on the location and severity of your condition, the IBD specialists at Cedars-Sinai will partner with you to formulate a personal treatment plan unique to your condition and goals. Using a combination of common and advanced therapy and treatment options, our goal is to help minimize your symptoms and maintain your disease in long-standing remission. The Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center focuses on a comprehensive multidisciplinary approach to your care, including IBD specialists working closely with dietitians, social workers, specialist nurses, surgeons, radiologists and pathologists.

In addition, the Cedars-Sinai Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center offers unique clinics focused on particular aspects affecting patients with IBD. These include:

Find an Expert/Get a Second Opinion

Looking for an IBD specialist or need a second opinion? You will find a highly skilled team of specialists in gastroenterology who collaborate with an integrated team to provide focused and individualized care.

What to Expect on Your Visit

A welcome package will be sent to you at the time of scheduling your appointment. This will include directions to the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center. Please complete the pre-visit questionnaire prior to your appointment date.

After registering and completing an initial intake, anticipate being seen by each member of the team deemed appropriate. Each person will be asking questions designed to gather details related to their field of expertise.

Typically, the last person will be one of the expert doctors, who will spend time discussing their assessment and reviewing the individualized plan created for you. The visit can take over 2 hours, as each team member will give you their undivided attention and make sure you understand all of the recommendations.

Advances in IBD Research

Not only will you find comprehensive patient care at the Cedars-Sinai Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center, you will also benefit from industry-leading research efforts. The Inflammatory Bowel and Immunobiology Research Institute conducts extensive basic, translational and clinical research in IBD, including clinical trials, studies on the role of genetics and laboratory work to invent new treatments that drive the latest advances in the field of IBD.

Find the latest clinical trials and research being conducted at Cedars-Sinai to advance medical knowledge of IBD and treatment.

Sidelining Crohn's Disease

For Julia Philbrick, life revolves around family, friends and volleyball—not Crohn's disease. "Crohn's isn't the No. 1 thing in my life," she says. "My family and my doctors help me keep it to the sidelines, so it's not the main thing I'm dealing with."

How You Can Help

Inflammatory bowel disease is on the rise. Help us take one step closer to the cure. With your support, the researchers and clinical experts at the Cedars-Sinai Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center will continue to unravel the mysteries of this disease.

Have Questions or Need Help?
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Available 24 hours a day


Support Services

Living with a long-term medical condition can be difficult. Cedars-Sinai offers support group services to patients and caregivers impacted by IBD. Join Connecting to Cure to help you share and discuss your experience of living with IBD.