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Treatment for Inflammatory Bowel Disease

IBD is a chronic disease that usually can be controlled with the appropriate medicine, but not yet cured in most patients. Patients experience flares (when symptoms are present) followed by periods of remission (when symptoms are not present). The goal of treatment is to help patients achieve remission, avoid relapses and have the best quality of life. Learn more about what our IBD Center has to offer patients:

Specialty Care for Women with IBD Erika Kielhorn Hefke stays active after tailored treatment for Crohn's disease. Read Hefke's story.

Our IBD team feels that, in most patients, continuous treatment is more successful than periodic intervention during acute episodes. We believe in a personalized approach and individualized care. That's why we work closely with each patient to develop ongoing, effective treatment plans that improve and maintain overall health and nutrition while minimizing side effects and relieving the discomfort and stress of inflammatory bowel disease. In addition, physicians meet weekly to collaborate on cases, share viewpoints and weigh the pros and cons of different IBD management plans.

Medical Management

Medications typically are the first line of treatment for Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. There are many different types of drugs that can help to control inflammation in the digestive tract. While these medications do not cure inflammatory bowel disease, they can alleviate or eliminate symptoms and lead to remission. The team at the University of Chicago Medicine has access to the latest medical advances in IBD care and will work with you to create a personalized plan that is best for the course of your condition. » For more information about IBD treatment, watch Dr. Rubin's webinar: What's best for me? Treatment Options in IBD.



In some cases of inflammatory bowel disease, surgery may be necessary. Patients with Crohn's disease may need surgery for strictures, fistula and/or bowel obstruction. Some patients with Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis may eventually require complete removal of the large intestine.

We know you will likely have a lot of questions about the best treatment plan. Our team of gastroenterologists and surgeons work together to provide you with all of the information you need. Many of our IBD surgeons specialize in minimally invasive procedures, which reduce scarring and help patients heal and return to activities faster than traditional surgery. » Learn more about colon and rectal surgery.

In addition, we provide ongoing care and support for patients living with stomas. » Learn more about our ostomy care services.

Diet and Nutrition

Your physician may discuss dietary changes. Although there is no data to suggest that diet causes or cures IBD, reducing or increasing intake of certain foods may help to decrease symptoms. We also make sure you are getting the appropriate nutritional support to reverse any dietary deficiencies and provide sufficient nutrients.

Comprehensive Care

We understand that IBD is a complicated disease that can have a broad impact on quality of life. Our IBD360TM initiative provides patients with all of the care they need for their complex illness. Through this program, we facilitate parallel visits with experts in rheumatology, dermatology, gynecology, psychology and social work as well as our clinical trials group. In addition, we offer specialty care to address the challenges facing teenagers and women with IBD.

Read an article in which Dr. Rubin discusses why we haven’t cured IBD.

Transitional IBD Clinic for Teenagers and Young Adults

Our Transitional IBD Clinic – one of the few in the country – is designed to meet the unique needs of teens and young adults ages 15 to 22. The clinic is a bridge between pediatric and adult care that provides the tools and support that our young adult patients need in order to take a more active role in IBD management. For patients who attend college out-of-state we help identify a local physician who we can partner with to provide ongoing care.

Specialty Care for Women with Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis can affect women differently than they affect men. Our new comprehensive Fertility, Pregnancy and Sexual Function Program for women with inflammatory bowel disease brings together specialists from a variety of disciplines, including obstetrics and gynecology and gastroenterology, to address these challenges. We focus on helping women manage their disease before, during and after pregnancy.

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IBD and Diet

David T. Rubin, MD, and Food Network star Sunny Anderson discuss diet, inflammatory bowel disease and Get Your Full Course -- a new resource that includes nutritional recipes for patients.