For patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), finding an accurate diagnosis or even comprehensive care that addresses the host of issues that accompany this disease can be a challenge. Fortunately, the new Wisconsin Center for Inflammatory Bowel Disease, located at River Woods Outpatient Center, 375 W. River Woods Parkway in Glendale, exists to make a positive difference in the lives of individuals living with inflammatory bowel disease.
Inflammatory bowel disease refers to two chronic diseases that cause inflammation of the intestines: ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Although ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease have quite a few symptoms in common, there are some important differences. In ulcerative colitis, the inner lining of the colon and rectum becomes inflamed and develops open, painful sores or ulcers. Swelling and reddening usually begins in the rectum and lower intestine and spreads upward to the entire colon. Ulcerative colitis may cause abdominal pain; however, pain is often the most severe in the rectal area, which can cause frequent diarrhea. People with this condition alternate between flare-ups and periods of remission throughout their lives.
Crohn’s disease differs from ulcerative colitis in the areas of the bowel it involves; it most commonly affects the lower part of the small intestine as well as portions of the large intestine. The disease causes inflammation of the intestines that extends much deeper into the layers of the intestinal wall than ulcerative colitis, causing swelling, abdominal pain and ulcers.
A majority of people live with this chronic disease for years without getting diagnosed. Diagnosing inflammatory bowel disease is complex because the symptoms vary for each individual and can be similar to other diseases. Most people find out they have it during their adolescent years, although it’s not uncommon for someone to be diagnosed before or later in life. IBD can be treated with medication, diet and surgery, but at this time there is no cure. Although IBD is not always easy to live with, most people find that after some initial lifestyle modifications, they are able to adapt quite well.
The physicians at the Wisconsin Center for Inflammatory Bowel Disease work with each patient to tailor a specific treatment plan for them, giving comprehensive attention to all aspects of the disease. The Center is comprised of leaders in the field of gastroenterology from Madison Medical Affiliates in Milwaukee, and is staffed by highly trained individuals with years of experience.
For more information or to schedule a consultation with one of the physicians, call (414) 273-1132.