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Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) affect the digestive tract (stomach, small and large bowel). With their long-term (chronic) inflammation comes the potential for scarring and bowel damage that may require surgery if not properly treated. In IBD, often considered an autoimmune disease, the body’s own immune cells attack healthy cells by mistake. IBD differs from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which may show similar symptoms but does not cause bowel damage. IBD typically produces debilitating symptoms that can negatively impact your quality of life.

IBD consists of two diseases, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, both treatable conditions. You and your primary care doctor can consider a referral to the OU Health Physicians IBD team if you experience common symptoms such as:

  • Abdominal cramping and pain
  • Chronic diarrhea that may contain blood
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Malnutrition
  • Urgent need to move bowels
  • Weight loss
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Request an appointment with a digestive health specialist at OU Health.

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Accurate Diagnosis for IBD

For early diagnosis and appropriate treatment to avoid long-term complications, your doctor may refer you to OU Health Physicians gastroenterology specialists who use a combination of blood work, endoscopy (including colonoscopy or camera scope tests) and X-ray tests, CT scans or MRI scans to develop an accurate diagnosis.

Comprehensive IBD Treatment

As part of your OU Health experience, you and your gastrointestinal care team develop an individualized treatment plan that typically begins with medication, including:

  • Antibiotics such as ciprofloxacin and metronidazole for short-term infections that may complicate IBD
  • Aminosalicylates such as sulfasalazine and mesalamine for anti-inflammatory treatment
  • Biologics for moderate or severe IBD to help block key inflammation steps within the condition
  • Corticosteroids such as prednisone for short-term (2-3 months) treatment of bowel inflammation
  • Immunomodulator drugs such as 6-mercaptopurine
  • Jak inhibitors such as tofacitinib

If your condition would benefit from surgery, your OU Health Physicians team includes highly skilled colorectal surgeons with extensive experience in performing minimally invasive procedures to remove the affected section of bowel.

Clinical Trials

Through research, we are committed to advancing our understanding of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. The care of patients with IBD is not complete without access to the latest clinical trials. If your IBD symptoms have not responded to currently approved medications, know that our clinical trials team may be able to help.

To learn more about clinical trials, call our research nurse, Maria Mason, at (405) 271-8001 ext. 54331 or email her at

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