Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) involves long-term recurring inflammation of the digestive tract, types of IBD include conditions such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. IBD is a result of the immune system abnormally attacking the digestive tract, causing inflammation and discomfort.

Risk factors associated with IBD include family history, smoking, stress, certain medications, pre-existing autoimmune conditions and unhealthy diet such as fried foods and processed meat. At Sheikh Shakhbout Medical City, our IBD Center multidisciplinary team ensures a tailored, comprehensive approach to meet your individual needs.


Symptoms of IBD can vary, depending on the extent and intensity of inflammation and its location within the digestive tract. The disease is often characterized by alternating phases of active illness symptoms and remission, common symptoms include:

  • Persistent diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain and cramping
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Urgent need to have a bowel movement
  • Feeling of incomplete bowel movements
  • Fatigue
  • Reduced appetite and weight loss
  • Fever
  • Joint pain
  • Skin problems (rashes)
Take the First Step: Assess your risk for IBD


Early diagnosis and treatment of IBD is important for the ongoing management of the disease. Diagnosing IBD requires a comprehensive approach and involves reviewing the patient’s medical history, physical examination, multiple tests and consultations. Here is an overview of the diagnostic process:

Lab tests: Blood tests and stool samples may be required to check for signs of inflammation and its consequences such as anemia and nutritional deficiencies.

Imaging tests: X-rays, CT scans or MRIs can be used to identify signs of inflammation or abnormalities in the digestive system.

Endoscopic procedures: Procedures like colonoscopy or flexible sigmoidoscopy directly visualize the digestive tract by inserting a flexible tube with a camera, tissue samples (biopsies) may be taken for further analysis. Another procedure is the capsule endoscopy that involves swallowing a small capsule with a camera to capture pictures as it passes across the digestive tract.


The primary aim of treating IBD is to alleviate inflammation to relieve symptoms, prevent complications and improve quality of life. Tailoring a specific treatment plan involves considering various factors, such as the type and severity of the disease, overall health status and individual treatment preferences. Common treatment options include:

Anti-inflammatory medicine: These medications help to decrease inflammation and reduce the activity of the immune system.

Advanced therapies: Safe to use and effective at managing IBD, medicines called biological agents and small molecule therapies focus on certain molecules in the body that cause inflammation.

Dietary modifications: Certain foods and beverages can aggravate your symptoms. It can be helpful to keep a food diary to understand what foods cause symptoms to appear, so these can be avoided. The Mediterranean diet has found to be helpful in reducing inflammation associated with IBD.

Surgery: If there is no response to diet and lifestyle changes, medical therapy or other treatments, surgery may be necessary for severe disease or complications of IBD. Sometimes it is an early treatment option in patients with Crohn’s disease.

At Sheikh Shakhbout Medical City, we work closely with our patients to create a customized treatment plan, ensuring regular check-ins and follow-ups tailored to meet their individual needs and objectives. This comprehensive approach may involve lifestyle adjustments like stress management techniques, regular exercise and psychological support.

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