Ulcerative colitis is one of the two major forms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that causes long-lasting inflammation in part of your digestive tract.
- Care at Milton S. Hershey Medical Center
- Groups, Classes & Support
- Research & Clinical Trials
- Symptoms, Diagnosis & Outlook
Care at Milton S. Hershey Medical Center
Penn State Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center doctors and surgeons are leaders in the field of inflammatory bowel disease, having been awarded top honors including Castle Connolly's list of America's Top Doctors.
Our dedicated IBD nurse navigator helps navigate our patients through our health system. The navigator is available by phone to answer questions, direct patients to services, and assist with scheduling by calling 717-531-3998.
Unlike some other health care providers, we offer all of our IBD services at one site. Gastroenterologists and colorectal surgeons share the same clinic, providing a single location for our patients who require multiple services during a single visit.
Additionally, if x-rays, blood work, enterstomal therapy, dermatology, psychiatry, or other ancillary services are required during a patient visit, these services and medical professionals are all located within our IBD clinic site.
We routinely provide advanced diagnostic and treatment techniques that are not widely available elsewhere. These include MR enterography, chromoendoscopy, pill cam, and robotic surgery.
It’s important to have your ulcerative colitis diagnosed accurately so that we can determine how serious it is, decide how best to treat it, and evaluate whether you’re at increased risk for developing colon cancer.
When in our care for your ulcerative colitis, you may receive one or more of these tests:
- Special blood and stool tests
- Therapeutic endoscopy
- Specialized x-rays and CT scan
Many therapies are available that may dramatically decrease or eliminate the uncomfortable symptoms of IBD without the need for an operation. Some of the treatments we offer include:
- Advanced drug therapies: We recommend several medications to reduce inflammation of the tissue in the colon, allowing it to heal and relieving symptoms. The most common medications include 5-aminosalicylate agents, steroids, immunomodulators, and biologic agents.
If medications have not provided sufficient relief, we may recommend surgery to remove your colon. Removing the colon is the only cure for ulcerative colitis. An estimated 25 to 40 percent of patients with ulcerative colitis eventually require this procedure.
If surgery is the next step in your treatment plan, you will meet with one of our experienced colorectal surgeons who specialize in IBD surgery. We will discuss various possible surgical procedures that involve removal of your diseased colon and ileostomy, or ileal pouch anal anastomosis. We may determine that you are a candidate for laparoscopy - a minimally invasive surgery that requires one or more small incisions in your abdomen instead of one large one. This approach typically allows for less scarring, faster recovery, and less pain.
If an ostomy is necessary, you’ll meet with our stomal therapists and attend our weekly stoma education class. However, many patients with UC who require surgery are candidates for an ileal pouch and won’t need a permanent ostomy.
Penn State Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center provides treatment for ulcerative colitis. In situations requiring surgery, our colorectal surgery team also provides patient care.
Penn State Health IBD Center for Crohn's and Colitis
University Physicians Center, Suite 3200
500 University Drive
Hershey, PA 17033
Hours: Monday–Friday, 7:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
Penn State Health Colonnade and Endoscopy Center
32 Colonnade Way
State College, PA 16803
Hours: Monday–Friday, 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
Groups, Classes & Support
Support groups provide an opportunity to share your feelings and connect with other parents and caregivers who are experiencing similar struggles.
Research & Clinical Trials
Our IBD team is a leader in the nation with our long-standing commitment to cutting-edge IBD research, including the establishment of the nation's largest IBD BioBank that includes DNA, blood, and tissue samples from multiple generations of IBD patients. This Biobank allows basic science research into the cause and potential new treatments of IBD. In addition, we have pioneered research in the field of personalized medicine, and have completed over 50 research studies and published over 100 nationally recognized IBD-specific research papers. The IBD Center conducts several clinical trials at any one time that patients may be candidates for. If you are interested in participating in a clinical trial, please discuss your interest with your IBD caregiver who will provide you with more information.