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Dyspepsia and peptic ulcers
Irritable bowel syndrome
Having a gastroscopy
Having a colonoscopy
What is Inflammatory Bowel Disease?
Inflammatory bowel disease or IBD is a made up of two main
conditions Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative Colitis (UC). These
conditions which most commonly start in people in the teens
and twenties (but can occur at any age) are thought to be caused
by an imbalance between a person’s immune system and the
natural bacteria which live in the gastrointestinal tract or gut.
Common symptoms are diarrhoea sometimes with blood in the
stool, the need to rush to the toilet quickly, tummy pains and
tiredness or fatigue.
Ulcerative colitis affects only the colon or large intestine. It is characterised by diarrhoea with urgency (running quickly to the the toilet), tiredness and there is commonly blood found mixed in the stool if the disease is out of control. The symptoms can start at any age but the most commonly between 15-30 years of age. The exact cause of the disease is not yet known but there appears to be an exaggerated response of the bodies immune system to the naturally occurring bacteria within the gut. In turn this leads to damage and ulceration of the delicate lining of the colon. Some patients will only have inflammation in the rectum (known as proctitis) or the last 40-50cm of bowel (left sided colitis) or the whole colon involved. Most treatments target the immune system by controlling and reducing the levels of inflammation with an aim to heal the lining of the bowel which in turn leads to the bowel habit returning to normal. Dr Woodland has experience with treating this condition and aim will work with you to attempt to achieve clinical remission and help reduce the impact this condition can have on your life.
Crohn’s disease differs from Ulcerative Colitis in that it can occur anywhere in the gastrointestinal tract. It most commonly affects the last part of the small intestine where is joins the colon or large intestine. Active Crohn’s in this area often causes abdominal pain after eating, associated with abdominal bloating and distension which in turn can lead to weight loss and fatigue. Other features can be diarrhoea with or without blood and some patients can develop infections or abscesses in particular around the back passage or anus. These infections are often caused by a deep ulcer within the bowel which penetrates through into the soft tissue beyond until there is a connection with the skin or other organ and are known as a fistula. Again the exact cause of Crohn’s disease remains unknown however it appears to be a combination of some genetic risk factors and environmental factors such as smoking which impairs the immune system in the gut to deal with invasive bacteria and which in turns sets up chronic inflammation. Many of the treatments for Crohn’s disease are the same as Ulcerative colitis and target the exaggerated immune response again with a goal to heal the lining of the intestine and reduce the symptoms of pain, fatigue and diarrhoea. Dr Woodland has experience in treating this condition and works closely as a team alongside dieticians and specialist nurses to get patients back into remission.
Crohn’s and Colitis UK is a fantastic charity set up for patients and has a huge amount of useful information on the two diseases plus opportunities for fundraising
CORE is another UK charity dedicated to gastrointestinal disorders (although not specifically IBD) and has more general information
ECCO - is the European Crohn’s and Colitis Organisation - although aimed at doctors there is a huge amount of information on their website and is useful for patients who want some more technical information