Understanding Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

David Grunkemeier, MD

Crohn’s and Ulcerative colitis, which comprise Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), are a group of diseases in which there is inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract.  They most often first appear in children or young adults, but can occur for the first time in older people as well.  Depending on which disease you have, it may affect you anywhere from the mouth all the way down to the anus or perianal region.  Most often, the end of the small bowel, called the terminal ileum, or the colon is affected.  Symptoms may include diarrhea (which can be bloody), abdominal pain, vomiting, and may be associated with unintentional weight loss.

It is very important for patients to understand that each person is an individual, and some people may have mild symptoms while others have severe and debilitating symptoms of this disease.  Women with IBD who wish to become pregnant need to have counseling with their gastroenterologist before conception, and be seen regularly during pregnancy to help promote a healthy pregnancy and delivery.  Although there is no medical cure for IBD, we are light-years ahead of where we were 15-2O years ago in terms of prognosis and medical therapy.  In the past five years alone, there have been several advances in the diagnosis and surveillance of IBD, and quantum leaps in medicines available to treat the disease.

At The Oregon Clinic, we are a large group of highly trained gastroenterologists dedicated to diagnosing and treating patients with IBD.  We strive to put patients into long-term remission, which means the gastrointestinal system looks and feels normal and healthy.  Yes, this is possible! We have created an Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center of Excellence, where physicians specialize in the complete care of the IBD patient and create standards and protocols for our gastroenterologists to follow.   We have a dedicated research team, and offer several national and international clinical drug trials.  This means the TOC IBD patient has access to the most modern and cutting-edge medicines of tomorrow.

If you are a patient who suspects you may have Inflammatory Bowel Disease, or already have a diagnosis of IBD, please contact TOC Gastroenterology.  Let us help you remember what normal is!

David M. Grunkemeier, MD is a Gastroenterologist with The Oregon Clinic –Gastroenterology West. He specializes in Advanced Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), Colorectal Cancer, Hepatology, and Internal Hemorrhoid Ligations. Learn more about Dr. Grunkemeier and The Oregon Clinic’s Gastroenterology specialty online or call our information line at (503) 935-8000.