Inflammatory Bowel Disease

About the condition

In the UK, it is estimated that well over 100,000 people have Crohn's disease and over 140,000 have a diagnosis of ulcerative colitis.

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) can be painful, disrupt normal activities and reduce quality of life, particularly during periods of active disease.

Crohn's disease is a chronic inflammatory disease that mainly affects the gastrointestinal tract. The disease may be progressive in some people, and a proportion may develop extra‑intestinal manifestations. The causes of Crohn's disease are widely debated. Smoking and genetic predisposition are two important factors that are likely to play a role. Typically people with Crohn's disease have recurrent attacks, with acute exacerbations interspersed with periods of remission or less active disease.

Ulcerative colitis is the most common type of inflammatory disease of the bowel. The cause of ulcerative colitis is unknown. It can develop at any age, but peak incidence is between the ages of 15 and 25 years, with a second, smaller peak between 55 and 65 years (although this second peak has not been universally demonstrated). Ulcerative colitis usually affects the rectum, and a variable extent of the colon proximal to the rectum. The inflammation is continuous in extent. Inflammation of the rectum is referred to as proctitis, and inflammation of the rectum and sigmoid as proctosigmoiditis. Left-sided colitis refers to disease involving the colon distal to the splenic flexure. Extensive colitis affects the colon proximal to the splenic flexure, and includes pan-colitis, where the whole colon is involved. Symptoms of active disease or relapse include bloody diarrhoea, an urgent need to defaecate and abdominal pain.

Our service

University Hospitals of North Midlands offers an IBD service cross both Royal Stoke and County Hospital. Along with gastroenterology consultants, we have clinical nurse specialists who offer nurse-led clinics and a telephone helpline for those patients needing advice/support in between clinic appointments and expedition of clinic appointments, as required. 

If you have a confirmed diagnosis of IBD and require support, the helpline number is 01782 675360 for Royal Stoke and County Hospital. The helpline is available Monday-Friday (excluding bank holidays) between the hours of 08:00-16:00. This number is also available for GPs to contact us on for advice.

Alongside nurse-led clinics and the telephone helpline, our nurse specialists also coordinate and administer biological treatments across both hospital sites, along with blood monitoring of those patients on both biologics and immunosuppressant medications. ​