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Frequently Asked Question's

This page contains a number of FAQ's, which are often asked by patients. This will be regularly reviewed and updated.

"Should people with IBD follow a low fibre diet?"

This depends upon what sort of IBD you have. It is usually only advised in people with narrowing in the small bowel due to Crohns Disease. Also, if you are having a flare up of Ulcerative Colitis, it can be helpful to reduce the amount of fruit and vegetables you eat as they might make you go to the toilet even more.Most other people with IBD should follow a healthy diet that includes fruit and vegetables unless they cause problems on an individual basis.

"Can I have IBS & IBD?"

Yes, quite common and sometimes difficult to know which is causing symptoms. A lot of people with IBD and IBS experience 'wind'. Dietary adjustments can sometimes help and NACC have an info leaflet 'bloating and wind' which contains useful advice. Colpermin (peppermint oil) or peppermint tea is also recommended.


"How effective are Probiotics?"

A number of small studies have looked at the use of probiotics. The evidence is strongest for their use in pouchitis - a condition that people with UC can get when they have had surgery to form an ileal pouch. There is some evidence for its use in Ulcerative colitis but studies only looked at a small number of people. There is no strong evidence for using probiotics in Crohn's disease at present.

There is also evidence that shows they can be helpful in avoiding antibiotic associated diarrhoea.

"Does increased stress have any impact upon IBD?"

Studies have shown that stress may be partly to blame for flare ups in some people but not everyone.


"Why do we need to take Calcium & Vitamin D whilst taking steroids?"

One of the most serious risks of taking steroids is osteoporosis or thinning of the bones. This happens because steroids reduce the bodies ability to absorb calcium which means that the bones become thinner. Calcium and Vitamin D supplements may help to reduce this risk.


"When do people with Ulcerative Colitis need surgery?"

Not everyone with UC will need surgery. It is usually only necessary if the disease Is not being controlled with medical treatment - if someone is needing frequent courses of steroids (>2 per year) for example. Occasionally, people have a flare up that is not helped by steroids and surgery may then be necessary as an emergency.


"What is Indeterminate Colitis?"

This diagnosis is given when the large bowel (Colon) is inflamed and it is not clear whether it is crohns disease or ulcerative colitis. When biopsies are taken during sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy they are sent to the histology department to be examined under a microscope. Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis are similar in some ways but have a few differences as well. The histopathologists identify which condition it is by looking at the differences. However sometimes they can only see the similarities and none of the differences. It is therefore impossible to tell which one it is and it is labelled indeterminate. Medical treatment for inflammation in the large bowel (colitis) is similar for Crohn's, UC and Indeterminate colitis.



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Patient, Coronary Heart Disease / Heart Failure Service, Shotley Bridge Community Hospital