How is Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) diagnosed?

A diagnosis of IBD is made by taking a careful history and then confirming the history with a combination of a physical exam, blood tests, radiologic tests (such as MR or CT imaging), colonoscopy and biopsy. There is no simple blood test to diagnose these complex conditions. Because these are lifelong, chronic conditions and the treatments work better when started early, it is important to get the diagnosis correctly and promptly.

What causes IBD?  Did I cause it?

Currently, we do not understand the essential cause of these diseases. They appear to be complex disorders driven by a combination of genetic risk factors, immune dysfunction and environmental exposure. Intensive research into these factors is ongoing at the Feinstein IBD Center at Mount Sinai.

What can I eat?

There is no causative link between diet and these diseases. That being said, many patients symptoms can be worsened by dietary choices. We have a registered dietician on staff to help you navigate food choices to minimize your symptoms and ensure you get adequate nutrition. When these conditions are effectively treated, most patients often have no dietary restrictions.  

Can I have a family?

At the IBD Center pre-conception clinic, we will counsel patients and create an individualized plan to ensure a positive family planning experience. In general, there are no concerns about IBD patients having a family.

Can I work or go to school?

Untreated, these conditions can be terribly disruptive to family life, work and school. When effectively treated, they should have little or no impact on your life.

Are the treatments effective? Are they safe?

There are now more effective treatment choices for IBD than ever before. The array of treatment choices and concerns about their side effects can be intimidating for both patients and their physicians. Our physicians at the Feinstein IBD Center will help you find the treatment that will work best for you and minimize short and long term side effects.

Don’t all patients with IBD need surgery?

No, our IBD specialists will help you explore all the medical options to help you avoid surgery. If surgery becomes necessary, we have expert IBD surgeons on staff in the center who work closely with our gastroenterologists who can tailor minimally invasive surgical strategies with medical therapy to bring you back to health.