Welcome to LGA
Private Gastroenterologist in London
The London Gastrointestinal Associates were formed in 2005 by a group of colleagues who felt
by working together in private practice, we could offer patients an exceptional care in the field
of digestive health & gastroenterology.
We are a cohesive team of gastrointestinal physicians and surgeons from London's major
teaching hospitals including University College, Bart's and The Royal London, Chelsea &
Westminster, St Georges & Guy's & St Thomas' Hospitals. We have combined expertise
covering all aspects of gastroenterology and hepatology, offering a complete range of
investigations, treatments and operations.
All our patients will benefit from a team approach to best care, combining the key qualities of
NHS and private healthcare.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
What is irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?
•IBS is a Disorder of the functioning of the digestive tract.
•This causes abdominal pain and an alteration in bowel habit
(constipation or diarrhoea or both).
•It is the commonest diagnosed gastrointestinal condition and affects
up to 20% of the UK population.
•It is second only to the common cold as cause for absence from work.
What are the symptoms?
•The symptoms usually begin in early adulthood and affect women
twice as often as men.
•Abdominal pain and bloating are the most common symptoms and
may be triggered by food or stress and relieved by bowel movement.
•Diarrhoea, constipation, or both are also common as is the feeling of
not having emptied the bowel completely.
•Other symptoms may be indigestion, nausea, urinary symptoms and
painful menstrual periods.
•Unexplained weight loss or bleeding are not due to IBS and should be
What is the cause?
Despite much research, the cause is still unknown but is likely to be due to several factors. There are
a number of theories why some people develop IBS:
1. In some people abnormal, vigorous contractions of the intestines cause cramping abdominal
pains i.e. the muscles of the intestine walls are contracting abnormally. Medications that
reduce contractions such as antispasmodics, may help such patients.
2. In other people the intestines are working normally but normal contractions (or gas) are
interpreted in the brain as being excessive (known as 'hypervigilance'). Such patients
sometimes benefit from medication that decreases pain perception.
3. Different foods may worsen the symptoms of IBS. It is not known if this is due to an allergic
reaction or due to an intolerance (e.g. to diary or sugar). The easiest way to detect an
association between different foods and the symptoms of IBS is to eliminate different food
groups systematically. This is best achieved using an 'elimination diet' which is supervised by a
specialist dietician. We can make a referral for diet manipulation.
4. A minority of people develop IBS after a gastrointestinal infection (e.g. campylobacter or
salmonella). The way that these infections cause IBS is still unknown but it is possible that a
low-grade inflammation persist in the intestine in such people.
What are the diagnostic tests?
•There are no specific diagnostic tests for IBS, although necessary tests
will vary depending upon the type of symptoms.
•Blood tests, stool tests (for infections, blood or inflammatory
proteins), breath tests (for sugar malabsorption), radiology
(ultrasound, CT or MRI scans) and endoscopic procedures (gastroscopy,
colonoscopy or wireless capsule endoscopy) may be useful.
•Several intestinal disorders with similar symptoms usually need to be
•These include inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis, Crohn's
disease and microscopic colitis), malabsorption (e.g lactose), coeliac
disease, or colon cancer.
What treatments are available?
•Treatment is often a long-term process and although IBS cannot be completely cured it is
usually possible to control symptoms and minimise the impact on daily life.
•If possible 'trigger factors' such as food intolerance or stress should be identified and treated.
A specialist dietician and chronic fatigue clinic may be able to help.
The different drug treatments will depend upon the predominant symptoms and must be
weighed up against the possible side-effects.
•Complementary treatments (such as probiotics, herbal remedies, homeopathy, candida-free
diets) may be tried, but unfortunately the benefit of these is not proven.
•Hypnotherapy however in clinical trials does benefit some patients and in now within NICE
(National Institute for Clinical Excellence) guidelines.
Telephone: 0207 881 4054
Fax: 0207 881 4094