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Specialty Services at the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) may originate in the digestive system, but it also impacts overall physical and mental health.

Our doctors at the UPMC Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center take a cross-disciplinary treatment approach, creating unique partnerships throughout the other UPMC Digestive Health Care Centers of Excellence and with other clinical specialties.

When people come to us for care, they have the benefit of receiving expert treatment and our specialty IBD services.

A Personalized Approach to IBD Treatment Options

Determining the right treatment plan for each person with IBD is complex. The experts at UPMC's Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center adhere to an approach called "shared decision making."

Following a diagnosis of the specific IBD condition, we work in partnership with our patients to:

  • Educate them on the available medical and surgical treatment options.
  • Find the right treatment approach to balance effectiveness, side effects, and long-term impact.

Clinical Nutrition Expertise

Our team includes clinical nutritionists who work with patients and their families on the nutritional needs of IBD. While there's no evidence to indicate that diet influences development of the disease, some people find that dietary choices can help alleviate IBD symptoms.

Our clinical nutritionists work closely with our doctors to understand each patient's condition and guide them in making the best dietary decisions.

Our doctors also provide specialized care for people with celiac disease, an autoimmune condition that interferes with the body's absorption of gluten. We offer both medical care and dietary support, as they adopt a gluten-free diet.

Specialty Dermatological Care

Skin problems are common in people who suffer from IBD, either because of the disease or the medications used in treatment.

Skin conditions associated with IBD may include:

  • Skin lesions
  • Psoriasis
  • An increased risk of skin cancer

Through a partnership with UPMC dermatologists, we provide specialized care for our patients with IBD who are experiencing these skin problems.

Behavioral Health Consultations for People With IBD

Living with a chronic condition like IBD isn't just difficult physically. People often have trouble coping with the effect the disease has on their quality of life. Depression and anxiety are common among those with IBD.

UPMC designed the Pittsburgh Program for Gut-Brain Health (PGH) to treat the psychological impact of IBD with:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Relaxation techniques
  • Medication management

Our doctors also help treat the chronic pain that can accompany this disease through the PGH program.

Opportunities to Enroll in Leading-Edge IBD Research

Our IBD clinical trials unit focuses on finding new medical options for people who haven't found relief of symptoms from existing medications or previous surgeries for Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.

Groundbreaking discoveries are changing the way gastroenterologists worldwide pursue medical and surgical treatment of IBD. For example, our team's research showed that a new medication administered following Crohn's disease surgery drastically reduced the rates of reoccurrence.