Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is an unpleasant and debilitating condition that results in raised sensitivity of the digestive system, cramps, bloating, diarrhoea and constipation. Its causes are not clear, but it may relate to changes in the digestive system and thus it can be a side effect of obesity. Some of the symptoms may mimic those of more serious inflammatory diseases, such as ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn’s disease, but, unlike these, IBS can be controlled through changes in diet and reduction in stress levels and is unlikely to have a major impact on overall health.
Ulcerative Colitis (UC) is a chronic disease that causes inflammation and ulcers in the inner lining of the large intestine. Its causes are still unclear, and may involve genetics or the immune system, but the symptoms are severe, and include:
- Abdominal pain
- Loss of body fluids and nutrients
- Rectal bleeding
Crohn’s disease is another inflammatory disease of the lining of the digestive system, but in this case the small intestine is most commonly affected. Similarly to UC, both genetics and the immune system may be factors in the development of Crohn’s.
Neither disease is curable, but the symptoms can be controlled through medication, or in severe cases, through surgery. There is little solid evidence to suggest that diet plays a major part in the diseases, but some sufferers find that eliminating certain foods (such as dairy and fatty or spicy foods) help to reduce symptoms.
Inflammatory diseases of the digestive system are rare in patients with obesity. However, obese patients with UC or Crohn’s, who opt for weight loss surgery to reduce their weight, may be more at risk from postoperative complications as a result of the medication they are using for the digestive disease. Not only can this exacerbate the symptoms of the disease, but also make it more difficult to treat. Patients with UC or Crohn’s are advised to choose the least invasive option for weight loss surgery.
When eating is disordered for a prolonged period, sometimes complicated with purging activity such as vomiting and laxative use, the gastrointestinal tract can be affected.
High levels of stress and unresolved feelings can affect your gut, leading to an increased incidence of gastrointestinal conditions.
HOW WEIGHTMATTERS CAN HELP
Our doctor will take a thorough history and assess your symptoms. Medication may be prescribed and referrals made where necessary.
Our dietician will help you eliminate any foods that trigger your conditions, and support you in designing an eating plan that promotes healthy weight and eating behaviour
Our therapists will teach you strategies to manage your stress levels and release any emotions that are contributing to your physical symptoms