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Inflammatory Bowel Disease in New Jersey

The Digestive Health & Nutrition Center has two convenient locations on Lawrenceville and Princeton, New Jersey where you can receive the exception care you deserve. Angela Merlo, M.D. is an experienced Gastroenterologist specializing in the care of adults and children with Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

What is Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)?

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is a term that encompasses Crohn’s Disease (LINK), Ulcerative Colitis (LINK) and a few cases of chronic colitis that cannot be precisely determined.  Ulcerative Colitis affects the innermost lining of the rectum and a variable extent of colon in a continuous manner. Crohn’s Disease can involve any part of the gastrointestinal tract in a patchy manner with inflammation through the entire wall.  All forms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease can have associated problems outside the digestive system and such as the skin, bile ducts, kidneys and musculoskeletal systems.

All forms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease are chronic with waxing and waning symptoms and periods of remission with no disease activity. Symptoms also vary in severity with some individuals barely affected and other individuals severely debilitated.

IBD in any form is thought to be an immune disorder. Current treatments focus on regulating the immune system to induce remission of disease activity.

What Symptoms are Associated with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)?

The symptoms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease vary depending on the location and extent of inflammation. Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis can share a variety of signs and symptoms, such as:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Blood in stools
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Weight loss

Patients with IBD are also prone to develop nutritional and vitamin deficiencies. Dr. Merlo incorporates nutritional counseling into every treatment plan. Dr. Merlo may recommend the use of supplements of iron, minerals and other vitamins to insure proper health.

How is Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Diagnosed?

Diagnosis is crucial as the different forms of IBD have specific health consequences and specific treatments. Dr. Merlo will perform a thorough physical examination and listen carefully as you describe your symptoms. Dr. Merlo may recommend blood tests, CT scans or capsule endoscopy (LINK) in order to reach the most accurate diagnosis. Colonoscopy (LINK) is the most commonly performed procedure for visualizing and obtaining biopsies of the colon. Dr. Merlo has particular expertise in performing colonoscopy and in interpreting the results.

How is Inflammatory Bowel Disease Treated?

The goal of treating IBD is to eliminate disease activity.  Several medications with anti-inflammatory effects in the intestines are available for the different forms of IBD. Newer agents that modulate the immune system are also available. Ask Dr. Merlo what treatment is right for you.

If you have symptoms or have been diagnosed with IBD, contact the Digestive Health & Nutrition Center in Lawrenceville or Princeton, New Jersey for an appointment. Dr. Merlo is an experienced Gastroenterologist specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of adults and children with IBD.