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HealthInfo Canterbury

Treating IBD

There are many things you can do yourself to help keep your IBD under control and manage any symptoms or complications.

Treatment by health professionals

Medicines used to treat IBD include 5-Aminosalicylates (Pentasa, Salazopyrin), steroids (such as prednisone), and other specialist medications such as Azathioprine and 6-Mercaptopurine. They suppress inflammation when the disease is active and help to prevent flare-ups. They may also help to control symptoms such as pain or diarrhoea.

Your will need to regularly see your GP or gastroenterologist while you are taking any of these medicines, so they can adjust the dose if necessary and to check for side effects.


You may need to take medicines for a long time. If you stop taking your medicines your symptoms can flare up again, so always talk to your doctor before stopping any medicine, even if you feel well.

If you are underweight, or losing weight without trying, your GP may refer you to see a dietitian at Christchurch Hospital. They can help you to improve your health through eating well. You will not have to pay for this, but you may have to wait. You may choose to see a private dietitian instead.

Some people with IBD may need surgery. This may be to manage complications or reduce the risk of bowel cancer, or it may be because their disease is not responding to medical treatment.

  HealthInfo recommends the following pages

On the next page: Advice & support for people with IBD

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Endorsed by GP liaison, Gastroenterology, Canterbury DHB. Last reviewed April 2019. Last updated May 2019.


See also:

Having an anaesthetic


Page reference: 5426

Review key: HIIBD-40631