Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Comprehensive care for IBD.

We understand how disruptive inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) can be to your life. If you have IBD, or if your doctor thinks you may have it, you need advanced care from experts who can help relieve your symptoms. That’s what you can expect at Henry Ford’s Center for IBD.

Our team includes doctors who have received national recognition from the American Gastroenterological Association’s Bridges to Excellence IBD Care Recognition program for their outstanding care, as well as numerous individual recognitions for the quality of care they provide We’re here to support you with the high-quality care you deserve for IBD.

IBD symptoms

IBD causes inflammation (pain and swelling) in various areas of the digestive tract. The conditions we classify as IBD come with specific symptoms that serve as warning signs. If you notice any of these symptoms, you should talk with your doctor about whether you may be at risk for IBD:

  • Bloody bowel movements
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Chronic (long-term) diarrhea

Your primary care doctor may order blood work based on your symptoms. If your results show unexplained anemia (a lack of healthy red blood cells), that can also be a warning sign of IBD.

How we diagnose IBD

We use the latest testing procedures to help us either rule in or rule out a diagnosis of IBD. Some of the many diagnostic tests we use include:

  • Laboratory tests to look for signs of infection, anemia or inflammation
  • Computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance (MR) scans
  • Several advanced forms of endoscopy, in which we use an endoscope (a thin, flexible tube with a light and a camera) to examine various areas of your digestive tract

Learn more about our diagnostic options.

Treatment options for IBD

We use the latest and most advanced treatment options available to provide the relief you need from your IBD. You and your doctor will work together to create a personalized treatment plan based on your specific condition, as well as any unique needs or concerns you may have.

While the mainstay of therapy for IBD is to control the inflammation, some people do have symptoms that persist. In these cases, a careful review and creation of a dietary plan with one of our registered dietitians can help control these bothersome symptoms.

Learn more about our IBD treatment options.

Related conditions: What if it’s not IBD?

Some conditions can lead to symptoms like those of IBD, but they usually don’t require the extensive treatment and management that IBD does. Some of these conditions are irritable bowel syndrome and microscopic colitis.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a group of symptoms that affect the colon. These symptoms often include:

  • Watery (but not bloody) diarrhea
  • Belly pain and cramps
  • Bloating
  • Dehydration
  • Unexplained weight loss

Researchers don’t know the exact cause of IBS. Infections, stress and changes in the colon’s sensitivity to stimulation may all play a role in the development of this disorder. Some studies have found that certain foods, such as dairy, citrus products and carbonated drinks, can make IBS symptoms worse, as can stress.

Our gastroenterologists have vast experience in the diagnosis and treatment of IBS. Your symptoms may improve through careful observation of your triggers and then avoiding the foods or situations that trigger IBS symptoms. We can also prescribe medications to help relieve your symptoms. Learn more about our care for IBS and other gastrointestinal conditions.

Microscopic colitis

Microscopic colitis is an inflammation of the colon. Unlike IBD, the inflammation of microscopic colitis is too small to see with the naked eye. It’s visible only under a microscope. The main symptoms of microscopic colitis include:

  • Watery (but not bloody) diarrhea
  • Belly pain and cramps
  • Bloating
  • Dehydration
  • Unexplained weight loss

We can diagnose microscopic colitis with samples taken during a biopsy, in which we take small pieces of your colon’s tissue to examine under a microscope. If you have this condition, you and your doctor will work together on a treatment plan to reduce your symptoms, including:

  • Changing any medications that may irritate the colon
  • Avoiding caffeine, dairy, fatty foods or other potential symptom triggers
  • Medication therapy, including anti-diarrheal medication, anti-inflammatory medication and medications that suppress the immune system, among others
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