Affecting an Estimated 1 in 250 People

Some individuals experience only mild symptoms while others have more severe Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis. Early diagnosis and treatment of IBD is important for the ongoing management of the disease. IBD can lead to other health concerns, including anemia, eye inflammation, skin ulcers, liver disease, kidney stones, impaired growth, joint pain and/or osteoporosis.

What are Common Symptoms of IBD?

Symptoms of Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Anemia and/or iron deficiency
  • Fatigue
  • Joint pain and swelling
  • Multiple or recurrent mouth ulcers
  • Persistent diarrhea
  • Rectal bleeding and/or bloody stools
  • Weight loss      

In addition, patients may notice other general signs, such as the development of a fever, rash, loss of appetite or changes to menstrual cycles.

How is IBD Diagnosed?

Our physicians use many tools to confirm or rule out a diagnosis of inflammatory bowel disease. Our team will start by performing a comprehensive history and physical exam and may order some or all of the following tests:

  • Blood tests, to check for anemia and levels of inflammation
  • Colonoscopy, to examine the colon and terminal ileum (small intestine)
  • Imaging studies, such as small bowel follow-through, CAT scan or MRI (magnetic resonance), which assesses the small and large intestine
  • Stool culture, to check for various infectious agents
  • Upper endoscopy, to examine the esophagus, stomach and duodenum (the first part of the small intestine)

At the UChicago Medicine Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center, diagnosis and treatment are continuously informed by the most current and compelling research.

UChicago Medicine campus with Chicago skyline in the horizon

Patients Traveling to Receive Care

Destination UChicago is a new program providing concierge services for patients traveling from beyond our service areas.

Services we offer

Patient Information

Your care and well-being are our primary concerns, and we want your stay to be as comfortable as possible.

See all patient resources

Second Opinions

Seeking the opinion of an expert can ease your mind and help you feel more secure in the medical decisions you are making.

Request a second opinion

Clinical Trials

Our research helps health care professionals around the world better treat diseases, conditions and disorders.

View all clinical trials

Directions & Maps

We are here to help you find our locations.

See map of all locations

Health Library

Find patient education resources about medical conditions and treatments, including videos, quizzes and risk assessments.

Explore A-Z health topics

Classes & Events

We offer relevant classes, screenings and support groups to help you lead a healthier life.

See all classes and events