Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Colorectal Surgery located in San Antonio, TX

Inflammatory Bowel Disease services offered in San Antonio, TX

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) includes ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. If you have IBD or need a diagnosis, visit fellowship-trained colorectal surgeon Tamara J. Merchant-McCambry, MD, at Lone Star Colon & Rectal Surgery and Clinical Services of San Antonio. Dr. Merchant-McCambry provides complete care for IBD patients, offering the most advanced medication and surgery for treatment-resistant cases. Call the office in San Antonio, Texas, or book an appointment online today for expert IBD diagnosis and treatment.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease Q&A

What is inflammatory bowel disease?

Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are the primary inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs). These conditions develop when the immune system mistakenly attacks cells in the tissues lining your gastrointestinal tract.

Ulcerative colitis affects the colon (large bowel) and rectum. Crohn’s disease can strike any part of your gastrointestinal tract, including your stomach, small intestine, colon, rectum, and anus.

What symptoms does inflammatory bowel disease cause?

IBD symptoms include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Rectal pain
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Cramping
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Long-term diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Joint pain
  • Skin problems
  • Tiredness and weakness

People with Crohn’s disease can develop abscesses (pus-filled lumps) and fistulas. Fistulas are unnatural tubes formed between the gastrointestinal tract and another body part. Those with ulcerative colitis are more likely to experience tenesmus — an urge to push even when the bowels are empty — and fecal incontinence, where you can’t control your bowel movements.

How is inflammatory bowel disease diagnosed?

IBD symptoms are similar to other gastrointestinal disorders like colorectal cancer. To assess your gastrointestinal tract properly, Dr. Merchant-McCambry performs a colonoscopy. She inserts a flexible, slender tube (colonoscope) into your rectum, passing it along the large bowel until it reaches the small intestine.

The colonoscope has a tiny camera that relays video to a large screen in the treatment room. Dr. Merchant-McCambry can identify complications like fistulas and see areas of inflammation typical of IBD. She takes a sample of abnormal tissue (biopsy) for lab analysis.

If you have Crohn’s disease, you could require an esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD or upper endoscopy). This is similar to a colonoscopy, but the camera goes down your throat, into your stomach, and to the top of your small intestine.

How is inflammatory bowel disease treated?

Most IBD patients manage their condition with medication. Aminosalicylates like mesalamine are the usual initial IBD treatment. You can take this drug as a suppository that you insert in your rectum, granules that you swallow with water, or both.

If the maximum dose of mesalamine doesn’t work, Dr. Merchant-McCambry might prescribe a corticosteroid like prednisone, a powerful anti-inflammatory. Patients who continue to experience symptoms might require immunosuppressants — medications that reduce the immune system’s function.

Biologic treatments are also available. These antibodies created in a lab prevent specific proteins in your body from triggering inflammation. You might require antibiotics if you have an infection in your gastrointestinal tract. Surgery to remove the affected areas of the colon and/or rectum might be needed in the most severe, treatment-resistant cases.

Call Lone Star Colon & Rectal Surgery and Clinical Services of San Antonio or book an appointment online today for advanced inflammatory bowel disease care.