What is IBD or inflammatory bowel disease?

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) describes two separate medical conditions: ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, both of which are chronic, long-term medical conditions involving inflammation of the gut (gastrointestinal tract).
Crohn’s disease often impacts your whole digestive system (from your mouth to anus) and ulcerative colitis affects your large intestine (colon).
It is often quite difficult to differentiate which IBD type a client has and it is then named as ‘indeterminate’ colitis.
Other, less common kinds of IBD (collagenous colitis and lymphocytic colitis) exist where the inflammation can only be seen at microscopic level, so they are known as ‘microscopic’ colitis.

What are the key symptoms for IBD?

The key symptoms for Crohn’s disease/ulcerative colitis are similar:

  • Extreme tiredness
  • Weight loss
  • Swelling, pain or cramping of the stomach
  • Bloody and/or recurring diarrhoea

Not everyone with IBD experiences all of the key symptoms. Some IBD sufferers can also experience additional symptoms (e.g. vomiting, a fever and/or anaemia).
IBD sufferers can also experience flare-ups (periods when symptoms are severe) with long periods with no/few IBD symptoms (‘remission’).

What is the cause of IBD?

The exact cause/s of both ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease are unclear; however, several factors are thought to perhaps be involved in IBD:

  • Genetic factors: evidence links the likelihood of developing IBD as being higher in those with a close relative also having IBD
  • Immune-system disruption where your body’s ability to fight against infections becomes disrupted: inflammation may be caused by your own immune system fighting viral/bacterial infections and at the same time attacking your healthy tissue inside your digestive tract

What IBD treatments are offered at my IPSA Medical clinic?

At your IPSA Medical clinic, an IPSA Medical IBD specialist will carry out a full IBD consultation in IPSA Medical’s conducive, professional and clean clinical setting. Your IPSA Medical IBD specialist will run through various treatment options with you, because there is currently no cure for either IBD disorder. The treatment offered by your IPSA Medical practitioner will be aimed at relieving your IBD symptoms and preventing your IBD symptoms from returning. Your IPSA Medical specialist will discuss various IBD approaches clearly with you.
Mild ulcerative colitis may not actually require any treatment because symptoms often clear up in a matter of days.
IPSA Medical has medications for both ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s, including ones that act to reduce the inflammation (aminosalicylates), or, if you have severe inflammation, corticosteroids and medications are available to reduce your immune-system activity (called immunosuppressants).
With 20% of ulcerative colitis sufferers having severe symptoms that often fail to respond to medication, in these cases, you may require surgical removal of the area that is inflamed.
From 60 to 75% of Crohn’s clients require surgery to repair the damage to their digestive systems and treat the relevant complications.

Who is usually affected by IBD?

IBD affects around one in every 250 British people with around 146,000 ulcerative colitis and 115,000 Crohn’s disease cases across the UK.

  • Your first IBD diagnosis is usually in your late teens/early 20s.
  • Women and men are equally affected by IBD.
  • IBD can impact you at any age.
  • IBD is more common in white individuals.
  • Eastern Europeans and those with Jewish backgrounds are the most common groupings affected by IBD.

To book you same-day IPSA Medical IBD consultation, simply book online or call your nearest IPSA Medical clinic.

Request a Callback

Sameday (Walk-in) GP

Sameday (Walk-in) GP

It can often be quite difficult to book an appointment with your NHS GP at a time that suits you. Your symptoms might have already faded, or you might have recovered by the time of your NHS GP appoin

What our clients say