Chronic inflammatory bowel diseases

Dr. med. Thomas Brunk Gastroenterology Berlin

What are inflammatory bowel diseases?

Chronic inflammatory bowel disease (CIBD) is a disease in which the bowel is inflamed permanently or in episodes. The most common forms are ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. The causes of IBD are not yet fully understood, but genetic, immunological and environmental factors play a role.

What symptoms can occur?

What symptoms can occur?
The symptoms of IBD can vary depending on the type, extent and activity of the inflammation. Common symptoms include:

  • Diarrhea, often with blood or mucus
  • Abdominal pain or cramps
  • Weight loss or loss of appetite
  • Fever or night sweats
  • Tiredness or fatigue
  • Joint complaints or skin changes

How is IBD diagnosed?

The diagnosis of IBD is based on a combination of medical history, physical examination, laboratory values, stool examinations, imaging procedures and endoscopic examinations. This involves examining the bowel and possibly other organs with a camera that is inserted via a tube. During a capsule enteroscopy, a small camera in the form of a capsule is swallowed, which provides images of the small intestine.

How is IBD treated?

The treatment of IBD aims to control inflammation, alleviate symptoms, prevent complications and improve quality of life. Treatment depends on the type, severity and course of the disease. Possible treatment options include

  • Drugs that suppress or modulate the immune system, such as cortisone, azathioprine, methotrexate or biologics
  • Drugs that inhibit inflammation or influence the intestinal flora, such as mesalazine, antibiotics or probiotics
  • Medication that alleviates the symptoms, such as painkillers, antidiarrheals or iron supplements
  • Nutritional therapy that promotes a balanced and individually adapted diet
  • Surgery that can remove or bypass parts of the bowel in severe or complicated cases

Are there treatment options if approved drugs are no longer effective?

In individual cases, IBD can have a persistent, protracted course that can significantly affect the lives of those affected. CED is the subject of intensive research. As an internationally recognized study center for IBD, we can offer innovative therapeutic approaches as part of drug trials if existing standard therapies are not effective enough or if relapses occur despite initial improvement.