Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Ulcerative colitis is a chronic, long term condition that means it is ongoing and lifelong. Patients will have periods of good health (remission) and times where symptoms are more active (relapses or flare ups). The cause is unknown but may involve genes that you are born with or an abnormal reaction of the digestive system to bacteria within the intestine. There is currently a great deal of research being done to try to identify the cause. Ulcerative colitis can start at any age, but often appears for the first time between the ages of 15-25, it affects men and women equally. The condition causes inflammation and ulceration of the inner lining of the rectum and colon only. This will produce symptoms which include diarrhoea, cramping abdominal pains, blood loss, mucus passage, weight loss and fatigue. The treatment is usually medical, although a small portion of patients require surgical intervention. For further information, please go to www.crohnsandcolitis.org.uk.
Crohn’s disease is a long-term condition that causes inflammation of the lining of the digestive system. Crohn’s can affect any part of the gut, although the most commonly affected area is the end of the ileum (the last part of the small intestine or the colon). The symptoms can include diarrhoea, abdominal pain, fatigue, weight loss and blood/mucus in the stools. The disease can start at any age but usually appears for the first time between 10-4o years. It is a lifelong condition that follows a relapsing and remitting course, but the cause at present is unknown, but it is the subject of a considerable amount of research. For further information, please visit www.crohnsandcolitis.org.uk.
Coeliac disease is a common condition where a patient has an adverse reaction to gluten. It is an auto-immune condition where the body’s defence against infection mistakenly attacks healthy tissue within the small bowel (intestine), disrupting the body’s ability to absorb nutrients from food. This can cause symptoms which include bloating or abdominal pain, flatulence, a noisy stomach, weight loss, tiredness and fatigue and occasionally anaemia. There is no cure for coeliac disease but switching to a gluten free diet should help control symptoms and prevent long term consequences of the condition. For further information, please visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/coeliac-disease.
Proctocolitis is an inflammation of the rectum and colon that can be caused by several different conditions, including infections, Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis. Symptoms include a fullness in the rectum, urgency, mucus or bleeding per rectum.