Inflammatory Bowel disease doctors

Inflammatory Bowel Disease IBD

Whether your symptoms are recent, or you have been suffering for a long time, specialist healthcare is available to help diagnose and treat the underlying cause. Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are the two most common Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD). Although there is currently no cure for IBD, the symptoms they cause can be treated following diagnosis. Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are thought to affect 300,000 people in the UK.

IBD
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Consultation with a specialist and diagnosis is the first step to feeling better

    IBD Symptoms

    There are certain symptoms that are common to both Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
    Many also occur in other digestive disorders so investigation by a specialist is important to determine the exact nature of your symptoms.

    Common symptoms can include:

    • Diarrhoea
    • Bloody stools, or blood when going for a poo
    • Vomiting and nausea
    • Abdominal pains caused by inflammation and ulceration in the digestive tract
    • Bloating
    • Lack of energy or excessive tiredness for no apparent reason
    • A low-grade fever
    • Sudden weight loss, often caused due to the body not properly absorbing nutrients from food
    • Reduced appetite

     

    There are also other related generalised symptoms such as mouth ulcers, joint pains, rashes and eye-related symptoms. Consultation with a specialist, who can conduct the necessary diagnostic tests, is the first step to better understanding your symptoms.

    ibd doctor
    IBD Diagnosis and Tests

    A gastroenterologist carries out investigations to diagnose IBD, including Crohn’s and colitis.

    IBD treatment and symptoms specialist doctor

    Whilst IBD can arise in people of any age, it is commonly diagnosed between the age of 15 and 30. There are an estimated 5 million people that suffer from IBD, around the world, with 300,000 in the UK alone.

    Diagnostic tests vary according to your symptoms, but may include:

    • Blood and stool tests
    • A colonoscopy, which is a specific type of endoscopy that allows the doctor to explore inside your bowel
    • Upper GI endoscopy is used to look for problems in the upper gastrointestinal tract
    • Flexible sigmoidoscopy used to examine the lower end of your colon

    Many cases are not diagnosed as symptoms cause embarrassment that can result in people not seeking the help they need and deserve. Please don’t feel anxious about coming to see us at GI doctors. We are experts in digestive disorders and there is nothing we have not seen before.

    If you have been suffering in silence, please seek the medical attention you deserve. At Gi doctors we will ensure you are treated with care, dignity and empathy.

    Accurate diagnosis of IBD is vital as symptoms that are left untreated can develop into wider health issues, and treatment is generally more successful the earlier it begins.

    IBD Treatment
    Whilst there is no cure for IBD medication can be extremely useful in managing your symptoms Most patients can expect an improvement in their symptoms and quality of life once the correct treatments have been started

    Medication typically includes:

    • Aminosalicylates (5-ASAs)
    • Steroids
    • Thiopurines
    • Biologic agents, given via injection, help suppress the immune system

    If the inflammation cannot be halted sufficiently with medication, and it results in narrowing of the bowel (stricturing) causing increased pain, surgery may be required.

    During surgery, the inflamed or narrowed part of the bowel may need to be removed. The extent of surgery depends on which part of the bowel is affected, and what is the best option for the patient.

    This decision is taken after appropriate radiological investigations have been performed and following multi-disciplinary discussion.

    IBD treatment4
    IBD and Nutrition

    There are many aspects of good IBD management including lifestyle changes (such as stopping smoking if you have Crohn’s disease), medications and nutritional therapy. The use of nutritional therapy can be as important as other factors for a variety of reasons. Firstly, nutrition in the form of liquid feeds can be a treatment of inflammation itself, thereby helping the bowel recover during disease flares.

    Secondly, it can prevent or alleviate malnutrition which itself puts patients at higher risk of complications with a greater chance of being admitted to hospital and with a worse overall quality of life. This can be in the form of high-calorie nutritional supplements or the replacement of specific nutrients using tablets or injections, such as iron or vitamin B12. Thirdly, nutritional therapy can treat symptoms that patients with IBD experience, beyond simply the effect of the therapy on the bowel itself. Importantly, nutritional therapy has the advantage of leading to fewer complications in general than medications and can be a vital tool when used appropriately.

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