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Paediatric Gastroenterology

What we do

We provide a comprehensive specialist inpatient and outpatient service to both the local population and regionally to the South West for the investigation and management of complex gastrointestinal (GI), liver and nutritional conditions such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) ie. Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, allergic gut conditions, coeliac disease, chronic diarrhoea, failure to thrive, feeding problems, pancreatic and liver disease, gut failure requiring intravenous feeding and difficult cases of chronic abdominal pain including irritable bowel disease (IBS).

Our specialisms

We specialise in the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease, intestinal failure, non-transplant liver disease, complex gastro-oesphageal reflux, diagnostic and therapeutic endoscopy.

Further information for patients

We offer the following clinics:

  • A weekly inflammatory bowel disease clinic
  • Coeliac clinic
  • Feeding clinic
  • Joint Paediatric gastro-surgical clinic
  • A Monthly liver clinic and bi-annual joint liver clinic with consultants from Birmingham Children's Liver Transplant Unit
  • A joint transition clinic with adult Gastroenterologists for adolescents with GI conditions to adult services
  • Specialist visiting clinics from BRHC to Truro and Swindon

Conditions we treat

We treat all GI conditions, and because there are so many, just a few will be featured here.

Crohns Disease can cause inflammation in any of the areas of the gut, from mouth to anus, but most commonly in the large and small intestine. This inflammation may lead to ulceration, abscesses and stricturing within the bowel. This is a chronic condition, with periods of remission and relapse.

Ulcerative Colitis is inflammation of the large bowel leading to ulceration and bleeding. It may effect the whole of the large bowel or it may be only restricted to certain areas. This is a chronic condition with periods of remission and relapse.

Coeliac Disease is an auto-immune disease. In patients with coeliac disease, antibodies; triggered by gluten, wheat, rye and barley, cause an inflammatory response in the gut. Specifically, the villi in the duodenum become inflamed and then flattened. This results in a decreased surface area for the absorption of nutrients.

Gastro-oesophageal reflux (GOR) this occurs when the acid or partially digested food from the stomach flows back up the oesophagus. Physiological reflux is common in infants (positing) and gets better without investigation or treatment but excessive GOR can rarely cause poor weight gain and/or pain because the oesophagus is irritated.

Treatments offered

To investigate whether patients have any of these conditions, they need to undergo an endoscopy. In children this is usually done under a general anaesthetic and if a lower endoscopy (colonoscopy) is needed, then bowel prep is necessary. An endoscopy involves looking into the gut with a flexible camera, biopsies are also taken.

Medication: A variety of medications are utilised for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease. These are the most common drugs used by the gastro team:

  • Anti-inflammatory drugs are widely used such as mesalazines
  • Prednisolone is a steroid used initially in high doses to induce remission
  • A feed therapy is often indicated in the treatment of Crohns disease. This is used to induce remission, is nutritionally complete and excludes all other food for six weeks
  • Methotrexate, this is a folic antagonist and classified as a cytotoxic drug. It is used as an immune suppressant
  • Azathioprine is an immune suppressant drug
  • Infliximab is an infusion that is given to also suppress the immune system, it is an monoclonal antibody which inhibits the pro-inflammatory cytokine, tumour necrosis factor

Contact us

Pauline Spencer, secretary can be contacted on 0117 342 8828.