Inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis

Please see the Crohn’s disease section.Ulcerative colitis usually presents with diarrhoea, abdominal discomfort and blood in the stools and sometimes mucous.A calprotectin test of the faeces can be helpful in pointing towards the diagnosis which is made at endoscopy by ileo-colonoscopy and in ulcerative colitis there can be inflammation in the upper gut as well so an upper GI endoscopy is usually performed at the same time under a general anaesthetic.Blood tests can be helpful, looking at anaemia and looking at liver function abnormalities which can co-exist with ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, and looking at pancreatic inflammation which again can co-exist with these conditions.

Treatment is usually initially getting the condition under control with steroids such as Prednisolone followed by and in conjunction with Azathioprine.Although there is evidence that non-steroidal anti-inflammatories which are aminosalicylates, such as Pentasa and Asacol (Mesalazine type preparations) can be useful in getting the condition under control.Sometimes dairy avoidance is advocated and probiotics have been advocated also.Further information can be gathered at www.cicra.org.

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