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Inflammatory Bowel Disease

The inflammatory bowel diseases are inflammatory conditions affecting the small and large intestines. There are two main types: ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Interestingly, the cause of these conditions is not known, though genes would appear to play an important role.

Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, rectal bleeding and weight loss. Diagnosis is dependent on a biopsy (tiny piece of tissue removed and examined under the microscope. Endoscopy and specialist radiology is an important part of the investigation and management of these conditions.

Many of the symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease can be treated with drugs. Surgery is reserved for complications and for disease that does not respond to drug therapy. The balance between medical and surgical treatment requires co-operation between physician and surgeon. Other teams including radiologists, pathologists, dieticians and specialist nurses also play a vital role. In Oxford, we have a large team for managing complex inflammatory bowel disease and attract referrals from around the United Kingdom and beyond.

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Inflammatory bowel disease