We use cookies to so our web site can function correctly. By Clicking "OK" or by clicking into any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more visit the cookies section of our privacy policy.

Privacy Statement

A cookie is a small file which asks permission to be placed on your computer's hard drive. Once you agree, the file is added and the cookie helps analyse web traffic or lets you know when you visit a particular site. Cookies allow web applications to respond to you as an individual. The web application can tailor its operations to your needs, likes and dislikes by gathering and remembering information about your preferences.

We use traffic log cookies to identify which pages are being used. This helps us analyse data about web page traffic and improve our website in order to tailor it to customer needs. We only use this information for statistical analysis purposes.

Overall, cookies help us provide you with a better website, by enabling us to monitor which pages you find useful and which you do not. A cookie in no way gives us access to your computer or any information about you, other than the data you choose to share with us.

Cookie group mandatory

(Req)
These cookies are necessary for the website to function and cannot be switched off in our systems. They are usually only set in response to actions made by you which amount to a request for services, such as setting your privacy preferences, logging in or filling in forms.
You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not then work. These cookies do not store any personally identifiable information.

These cookies are required

Functional

These cookies allow us to adtertise our products to you and allow us to pass this information on to our trusted third parties so that they can advertise our products to you on our behalf
All information these cookies collect is aggregated and therefore anonymous. No personal inforation is shared to third parties. Any personal information collected while using our website could be used for direct marketing from HCA only

Marketing

These cookies allow us to advertise our products to you and allow us to pass this information on to our trusted third parties so that they can advertise our products to you on our behalf
All information these cookies collect is aggregated and therefore anonymous. No personal inforation is shared to third parties. Any personal information collected while using our website could be used for direct marketing from HCA only

Performance Cookies

These cookies allow us to know which pages are the most and least popular and see how visitors move around the site.  All information collect is annonomas unless you provide personal information to us.
If you do not allow these cookies we will not know when you have visited our site, and will not be able to monitor its performance.

IBD complications

Complications caused by inflammation of the digestive system

If you're experiencing stomach issues and other problems due to inflammatory bowel disease, HCA UK's experts can help

About

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a term used to describe Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. These are chronic (long-term) conditions that cause the digestive system (gut) to become inflamed. If you suffer from Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, complications can sometimes occur. There is no cure but there are treatments that can help.

Need to know

  • Symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease and its complications icon plus

    IBD is believed to be caused by a combination of factors including genetics and your immune system. The most common symptoms of Crohn’s disease are:
    • Diarrhoea
    • Stomach pains or cramps
    • Blood in stools (poo)
    • Tiredness
    • Weight loss

    The most common symptoms of ulcerative colitis are:
    • Recurring diarrhoea which may include blood, mucus or pus
    • Stomach pains
    • Feeling the need to empty your bowels often

    You may also feel very tired, lose your appetite and experience weight loss.

    Complications tend to occur when the inflammation in the intestine is severe, widespread and chronic (long-term).
  • Diagnosis icon plus

    Your GP or consultant will discuss your symptoms with you. Tests they recommend may include:
    • blood tests
    • stool (poo) tests
    • colonoscopy. This involves a flexible tube (endoscope) with a camera to spot any inflammation in the bowel.
    • flexible sigmoidoscopy. This is similar to a colonoscopy but focuses on the lower part of your intestines
    • gastroscopy. This is where your oesophagus (food pipe) is examined using an endoscope.
    • capsule endoscopy. This involves swallowing a small pill containing a tiny camera, light and transmitter to get images of your small bowel
    • biopsy. This is the removal of bowel tissue for analysis
    • MRI or CT scan
  • Potential treatment options icon plus

    There is no cure for IBD but treatment can help control or reduce the symptoms. Treatment options depend on the severity of your symptoms and if you are suffering from any related complications.

    Medications available include:
    • steroids (to reduce inflammation)
    • immunosuppressants (to lower activity in your immune system)
    • biological medications (used when other treatments haven't worked)

    Some people may require surgery. There is a range of procedures available depending on your condition and if you have any complications. If it is recommended that you have surgery, you will be referred to a specialist surgeon with experience treating IBD.

Types of IBD complications

Fistulas

These are abnormal tunnels that connect different parts of the intestine in people with Crohn’s disease.

Strictures

Strictures occur when inflammation causes scarring and a narrowing of the intestines. They are a complication of Crohn's disease.

Perforation (hole) in the intestine

This is when a hole develops in the wall of the intestine if it gets too thin. It is very serious and can be potentially life-threatening.

Intestinal failure

This is a rare but serious Crohn's disease complication in which your intestines cannot digest food and absorb essential fluids and nutrients.

Toxic megacolon

This is when inflammation in the colon traps gas making the colon enlarge. It is very serious as the colon may rupture (split) causing infection.

Primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC)

A condition in which the bile ducts (small tubes carrying digestive juice out of the liver and into the gut) become inflamed and damaged.

Bowel cancer

There is an increased risk of developing bowel cancer (cancer of the colon, rectum or bowel) if you have Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis.

Osteoporosis

This is a condition which weakens the bones. It is can develop as a side effect of prolonged use of steroid medications.
Consultant in theatres

Our consultants

We're proud to work with leading experts across a range of medical fields, whose skills are matched by their integrity and compassion.

Our facilities

From complex surgery to straightforward procedures, we provide exceptional care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

  • The Wellington Hospital

    The Wellington Hospital

    Wellington Place

    London NW8 9LE

    Appointments 0207 483 5148
    Enquiries 020 3131 7478

  • facility-HSC-flag-hero-582x582

    The Harley Street Clinic

    35 Weymouth Street

    London

    W1G 8BJ

    Appointments 020 7034 8181
    Enquiries 020 3131 7962

  • facility-pgh-hero-579x579

    The Princess Grace Hospital

    42-52 Nottingham Place

    London W1U 5NY

    Appointments 020 7908 8001
    Enquiries 020 3130 6833

  • The Lister Hospital Facility

    The Lister Hospital

    Chelsea Bridge Road

    London

    SW1W 8RH

    Appointments 020 7811 4000
    Enquiries 020 3131 4978

  • The Portland Hospital

    The Portland Hospital

    205 - 209 Great Portland Street

    London

    W1W 5AH

    Children's enquiries 020 7390 8020
    Maternity enquiries 020 7390 6068
    Gynaecology enquiries 020 7390 6200

  • The Princess Grace Hospital Facility

    London Breast Institute

    42–52 Nottingham Place

    London

    W1U 5NY

    Appointments 020 7079 4344
    Imaging Department 020 7908 2000

  • London Bridge Hospital Facility

    London Bridge Hospital

    27 Tooley Street

    London

    SE1 2PR

    Appointments and Enquiries 020 7234 2009
    Imaging Appointments. 020 7234 2773
    Switchboard 020 7407 3100

  • Hero-facility-LDH-group-579x579

    London Digestive Health

    41 Welbeck Street

    London

    W1G 8DU

    Call 020 7616 7645

  • London Digestive Health

    London Digestive Surgery

    41 Welbeck Street

    London

    W1G 8DU

    Call 020 3131 5319
    Opening hours Monday - Friday: 8am - 8pm
    All of our upper GI and colorectal consultant are at our Chiswick clinic on Saturdays

Request an appointment

We're happy to help you make an appointment with one of our experienced consultants.

This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
back to top