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Inflammatory Bowel Diseases

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What are inflammatory bowel diseases?

Inflammatory bowel diseases are conditions that cause chronic inflammation in the bowels and digestive system. Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are the most common forms of inflammatory bowel diseases.

Crohn's disease causes inflammation of the lining of your digestive tract, which can lead to abdominal pain, severe diarrhoea and even malnutrition. This condition can develop in any part of the gastrointestinal tract, from the mouth to the anus, and requires medical treatment to manage effectively.

Symptoms and causes of inflammatory bowel disease

The direct cause of both Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis is unknown; however, genetic and environmental factors along with a generally weak immune system may lead to the development of either disease. Lifestyle habits, such as smoking and following a poor diet, can also contribute to inflammatory bowel diseases too.

Though Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis affect the digestive system differently, these two forms of inflammatory bowel diseases often present similar symptoms that can range from mild to severe depending on the seriousness of the inflammation.

Diagnosis and treatment

As a specialist gastroenterologist, Dr Michael Elliot specialises in the treatment of inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis. Though both inflammatory bowel diseases are incurable, they can be diagnosed and managed effectively.

To diagnose inflammatory bowel diseases, Dr Elliot will need to perform tests and examinations to identify the presence of inflammation or ulcers and rule out other complications such as colorectal cancer. Blood tests, x-rays and procedures such as a colonoscopy or endoscopy may be performed to pinpoint both Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

The symptoms and complications of inflammatory bowel diseases can be managed with anti-inflammatory drugs, pain relievers and nutritional supplements. Both conditions can also be managed with lifestyle changes that avoid certain dietary triggers. As a specialist surgical gastroenterologist, however, Dr Elliot can perform surgery to treat inflammatory bowel diseases in severe cases.