Bowel cancer is the 4th most common cancer in the UK with over 41,000 people diagnosed each year. Both men and women get bowel cancer and most people are diagnosed over the age of 50. Bowel cancers start in the bowel lining and if left untreated can grow through the bowel wall spreading to other organs.
Risk factors for developing bowel cancer include age, diet and lifestyle, genetics and medical conditions.
Symptoms of bowel cancer include blood in the stools, change in bowel habit, lower abdominal pain, bloating or discomfort after eating.
Coeliac disease is an autoimmune disease affecting approximately 1 in 100 people. Coeliac disease can affect anybody however it is more common in women than men and is most likely to develop either in early childhood (before the age of 1) or in later adulthood (between the ages of 40-60).
Causes - coeliac disease is caused by a reaction to gluten. If someone with coeliac disease consumes gluten they will have an immune response which causes damage to the lining of the small intestine. This can impact on nutrient absorption as the small projections that line the small intestine, called villi, are flattened causing reduced nutrient absorption. Therefore it is important that coeliac disease is identified. Once diagnosed it is managed by a gluten free diet for the rest of the individuals life. Gluten containing grains include wheat, barley, rye and oats and are commonly found in an array of foods such as bread, pasta, cakes, breakfast cereals and ready meals. Gluten is often found hiding in foods such as chips, sauces, some processed meats and seasonings.
Symptoms of coeliac disease include bloating, wind, constipation, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, nausea, weight loss and fatigue.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a bowel disorder with symptoms affecting up to 20% of the population. IBS is more common in women than men and usually develops between ages 20-30.
Causes – a definite cause of IBS is unknown however experts suggest it to be related to digestive problems such as constipation and diarrhoea because brain signals traveling to and from the gut are disrupted. Gut sensitivity – being oversensitive to gut nerve cells may also be a possible cause. Psychological triggers such as stress and anxiety can cause chemical change affecting normal gut function. Fatty foods, processed snacks, chocolate, alcohol, fizzy and caffeinated drinks have also been found to trigger IBS symptoms.
Symptoms include abdominal pain, bloating, wind, passing mucus, changes in bowel habits, nausea and fatigue.