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Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Clinic

Most of our IBD patients have their first contact with the team in the outpatient clinic, having been referred by their GP.

Patients with more severe symptoms may be admitted to hospital for inpatient treatment in the first instance. In clinic you are likely to be seen by a consultant or a registrar - a middle-grade doctor undertaking specialist training under the supervision of a consultant.

The possibility of a diagnosis of Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis may be raised at this first visit if you have symptoms typical of these conditions. Alternatively a diagnosis may be made later, following special investigations (which may include blood and stool tests, scans, colonoscopy etc.). The following information describes what is likely to happen during and following your clinic visits:

  • all patients newly diagnosed with IBD will be assigned to a consultant team. After diagnosis, further follow-up appointments in the outpatient clinic will be arranged. At these follow-ups you might be seen by a doctor or by the IBD nurse;
  • following clinic review, you may be started on some medication or recommended for specific dietary therapy. If the former you may be given a prescription in clinic or asked to collect a prescription from your GP surgery;
  • if a longer course of treatment is required, as is often the case for IBD (for example with drugs such as mesalazine or azathioprine), then you will need to get a repeat prescription from your GP – who will have been informed of your treatment plan by letter from clinic following your appointment. You will need to liaise with your GP’s surgery to collect this in good time so that you do not run out of medication and risk having a relapse of your disease;
  • in the clinic, following your appointment, we often do blood tests in order to monitor your disease and effects of treatment. You will be notified directly or via your GP if there are any problems with these.

Learning about your condition

At the time of your clinic appointment you should get an explanation about IBD and can get more information from reputable sources such as the national patient support group Crohn’s and Colitis UK

Over time we do advise that you try to find out as much as possible about your condition in order to understand this better, manage the symptoms more effectively and reduce the risk of complications in the future. However, although there is a wealth of information available from many different media sources, not all sources are reputable or helpful, especially to newly diagnosed patients. This is why we recommend sticking to reputable sites. It is also important to bear in mind that a lot of the information regarding severe forms of IBD is unlikely to be relevant to the large majority of patients whose condition will be relatively easily controlled with simple medications and/or some dietary and other lifestyle changes. We advise that you contact the IBD helpline or discuss with your GP or your consultant any further questions or concerns you might have about what you have read. Try not to worry unnecessarily about things that might never happen to you.