Intestine And Bowel Disease

Almost 25% of the UK population will have experienced some alteration in their bowel habit or faeces from time to time and 10% will have experienced blood in the faeces. A referral to a Gastroenterologist is often recommended in this situation for examination of the colon or Colonoscopy, particularly to exclude bowel cancer in patients over 50 years of age or if the symptoms are persistent or progressive. Younger patients are more likely to have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) with symptoms of lower abdominal pain, bloating, distension, gas and rumbling inside, mucus or difficulties with the passage of faeces. IBS sufferers can experience diarrhoea, constipation or alternating between the two as well as a number of other symptoms not usually connected with the gut, such urination difficulties, back pain, headache, tiredness and pain on intercourse. Older patients may have IBS-type symptoms associated with diverticular disease. Coeliac disease, a condition which causes impaired digestion, affects 1% of the UK population and can mimic symptoms of IBS. So too can Inflammatory Bowel Disease, such as Colitis or Crohn’s Disease, particularly when mild. These conditions can give rise to low-grade symptoms over several years before an accurate diagnosis is made. Weight loss, tiredness, anaemia, progressive or persistent pain should always prompt further investigation. 10% of older patients who are investigated with a colonoscopy may be found to have polyps, benign growths in the bowel, and removal of these will reduce their lifetime risk of bowel cancer. The following information sheets give further detail on these conditions. - Designed by Oldroyd Publishing Group Ltd. All Rights Reserved