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Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)


Covid-19 - Crohn’s and Colitis

We are working with Crohn’s and Colitis UK and British Society of Gastroenterology to keep the most up-to-date information in the public domain.

For the latest advice please visit the Crohn’s and Colitis UK website.

At Addenbrooke’s we look after more than 2000 patients with either crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. These are the two main forms of IBD. This information sheet describes how you can access the service. For example if you have IBD, you may be feeling unwell with a flare-up of your symptoms, or you may have any queries or concerns about your condition or treatment.

It will mainly be useful for people newly diagnosed with crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis who are not so familiar with how things run. It can also serve as a useful reminder for more established patients.

This fact sheet is not intended to describe the conditions themselves or how to treat them. There are many other sources of information which give more details on these topics. For example see the crohn’s and colitis UK website and the listing at the end of this booklet.

You should note that IBD is different to IBS (irritable bowel syndrome).

IBD is often unpredictable in terms of when symptoms might recur. It is therefore important that you have access to advice and support in between clinic visits - to prevent a more severe attack and perhaps save you having to come back to clinic. The sooner appropriate treatment is started, the better the outcome is.

  • The IBD helpline number to call is 01223 257212. This service is available for information and advice on IBD treatment or related issues between your normal clinic appointments.
  • The helpline and MyChart are non-urgent services. MyChart messages can take up to 5 working days to be answered and should be used where no further discussion is required to assist with your query.
  • The IBD helpline is a voicemail service so it is important that you leave a message clearly stating your full name, hospital number (if known) along with a contact number and best time to call. One of the nurses will call you back with advice usually within 24 hours but please be aware at busy times it may take up to 72 hours to return your call. This service is open from Monday to Friday only.
  • If your call is more urgent or if it is clear the IBD nurses are not available, then contact your GP or emergency GP team: if necessary they can speak with the gastroenterologist on call for further advice.
  • Please ask for a copy of our IBD telephone help-line leaflet if you have not already been given one.

If you are unsure about when you should call the helpline and are worried about “being a nuisance” it is important that you let us know if you experience any of the following:

  • severe abdominal pain or persistent painful swelling of the abdomen
  • vomiting for more than 24 hours
  • diarrhoea not responding to your usual medication
  • persistent bleeding from the back passage
  • unexplained weight loss or fever (greater than 38°C)
  • side effects or any unusual reactions from your medications

Additional Resources