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Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease

These diseases are together titled inflammatory bowel diseases.  They are triggered by various genetic and environmental factors in susceptible individuals.  The incidence of these diseases is increasing and a correlation with dietary changes towards a western high protein and fat diet is suspected to play a role.

Symptoms include

Frequent chronic diarrhoea which can be bloody and full of mucus potentially associated with abdominal pain and fever and anaemia.  Loss of appetite and weight may be associated with the disease.  In patients with a family history or the appropriate background profile a diagnosis should be suspected.

Diagnosis

This is made by endoscopy and biopsy of the colon and small bowel to reflect inflammation and ulceration of these regions, which is the pathological process behind the bleeding and diarrhoea.

Treatment

Is achieved by anti-inflammatory and immune modulating (immune suppressive) medication which suppresses the inflammation which is responsible for the pathological progress involved in the bowel.  These include drugs like steroids, mesalamine and infliximab.