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Conditions We Treat at the Visceral Inflammation and Pain (VIP) Center

UPMC's Visceral Inflammation and Pain (VIP) Center provides treatment for the psychological impact of GI illness.

Because of the strong connection between the brain and the gut, we treat people with a wide range of digestive disorders including:

  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis
  • Pancreatic and biliary diseases, including pancreatitis, gallbladder disease, and cystic fibrosis
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and celiac disease
  • Colorectal, pancreatic, esophageal, and other GI cancers
  • Liver diseases such as hepatitis C, cirrhosis, and fatty liver disease

By incorporating new coping strategies, many people are able to lower their dosage of medications, reduce the reoccurrence of symptoms, and make fewer visits to their physicians.

Continuum of Care

All patients receiving treatment at UPMC’s Digestive Disorders Center have access to the VIP Center's innovative behavioral health services, such as:

  • Stress management
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Relaxation techniques
  • Hypnosis
  • Skill teaching groups

Our care is designed to be short-term — typically eight to 10 visits. During this time, we work with patients to find the most effective strategies and coping skills to manage their stress, depression, anxiety, or chronic pain. If our team determines long-term care is needed, we can provide referrals to a behavioral health specialist at a location convenient to the patient.

We are leaders in the field and act as an educational resource to other health care providers to improve their understanding of the gut-brain connection, helping them better serve their own patients. We also maintain an ongoing research registry that measures data on the impact of behavioral health support on management of GI illnesses, which helps us to constantly refine our own approaches.