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Center for Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) – including ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, and indeterminate colitis – is a lifelong condition of the digestive tract that oftentimes strikes people at a young age.

Typically diagnosed between age 15 and 30 and after the age of 50, IBD can have an overwhelming effect on a person’s life because the symptoms and potential consequences of treatment that can be painful and socially challenging.

Although there is no cure for IBD, specialists at the Center for Inflammatory Bowel Disease offer a host of treatments that have been proven successful in inducing and maintaining remission and addressing other related conditions. We take a collaborative approach by having gastroenterologists, nutrition specialists, clinical psychologists and integrated medicine professionals work together to develop a treatment plan that is personalized for you.

We also have specialists who address the specific and complex needs of women suffering from the disorder. This includes managing issues of fecundity and fertility, safety of medications during pregnancy and breastfeeding, perinatal care, bone health, addressing sexual dysfunction, as well as other psychosocial ramifications associated with IBD.

Our unique services for female IBD patients include close collaboration with colorectal surgery, high-risk obstetrics, urogynecology, rheumatology and other specialties. In addition, we utilize:

  • Endoscopic ultrasound technology to evaluate perianal disease
  • Chromoendoscopy in high-risk patients to detect precancerous changes of the mucosa (dysplasia)
  • Nutritional support in malabsorption and short gut syndrome
  • A psychologist who offers an integrated approach in the management of stress, anxiety, depression and pain.

Center for Inflammatory Bowel Disease: 412.359.8900
Erie residents call: 814.452.2767

Tests & Diagnosis

Diagnosing IBD can be challenging and may involve ruling out other conditions. To help confirm a diagnosis, your physician may perform any of the following tests:

Flexible sigmoidoscopy examines the lower part of your intestine by inserting a flexible, lighted tube called a sigmoidoscope into your rectum and examines part of your colon.

Colonoscopy allows the doctor to examine the entire length of your large intestine. It involves inserting an endoscope, which is a long, flexible, lighted tube, through the rectum and into your colon. In addition to allowing visualization of the colon, the colonoscope enables the doctor to irrigate, suction stool for additional testing, and access the bowel with surgical instruments. During a colonoscopy, the doctor may remove tissue and/or polyps for further examination and possibly treat any problems that are discovered.

Upper endoscopy allows the doctor to examine the inside of your esophagus, stomach and duodenum with an endoscope, which is guided into the mouth and throat, then into the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum. During an endoscopy, the doctor may remove tissue (biopsy) for examination under a microscope.

Endoscopic ultrasound-guided biopsy involves inserting a probe (endoscope) into an area of your body that a physician needs to investigate. Our gastroenterologists use ultrasound to obtain images of such areas as your abdomen, organs and blood vessels for evaluation and staging of any cancers detected.

Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography combines endoscopy with real-time images to diagnose cancer of the pancreas and biliary. Gastroenterologists inject dye into the ducts in the biliary system and pancreas to produce clear images on X-rays.

X-rays are sometimes performed to obtain an image of your bowel.

Computed tomography scan (CT or CAT scan) uses a combination of X-rays and computer technology to produce cross-sectional images (often called slices), both horizontally and vertically, of the body. A CT scan is more detailed than general X-rays and shows detailed images of any part of the body, including the bones, muscles, fat and organs.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses powerful magnets and radio waves to produce detailed images of organs and structures within your body.


These include steroids, which are effective in inducing remission. Others include immunosuppressives/immunomodulators, which both induce and maintain remission. We also offer you access to clinical trials that could provide you with a potentially beneficial new treatment options.

Surgical treatment include drainage of abscesses; take down of fistulae; partial or total colectomy with an ostomy; or creation of a pouch. Some of these surgeries may be performed by minimally invasive approaches.

Nutritional intervention can help your bowel to rest and reduce inflammation. Our specialized nutrition service specialists work closely with your gastroenterologist to determine any nutritional support that may be helpful.

Integrated medicine involves complementary approaches to treating IBD, including holistic psychology services, acupuncture, relaxation therapies, yoga, tai chi and massage therapy.

These options are supportive and should be done in conjunction with your gastroenterologist supervised treatment.