Southern Independent Medical Pratice
Southern Independent Medical Practice
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Southern Independent Medical Practice - We care about our patients, call us on 01722 415444

At the Southern Independent Medical Practice, bowel disorders have always had a high priority. In particular we take very seriously screening for bowel cancer and also do everything we can to look at the causes of  Irritable Bowel Syndrome that we know about at present.

For the last eight years we have had a programme of bowel cancer screening in which we encourage registered patients over the age of 40 to take part on an annual basis with stool sampling for hidden bleeding (haemoccult). Non registered patients can use the Practice for this screening either alone or in combination with one of our full screening programmes.

We try and assess patients with symptoms suggestive of Irritable Bowel Syndrome and if necessary, arrange blood tests through specialised laboratories to try and understand the underlying causes. it

Cancer of the large bowel kills over 20,000 patients in this country each year. It is most likely to occur in the seventh decade but can occur at any age, particularly from the age of 40 onwards.

In theory bowel cancer should be a totally preventable disease.It is now well known that the majority, if not all, of these cancers arise from a pre-existing benign growth, a polyp, in the wall of the large bowel which is thought to develop over 5-7 years before becoming malignant. If removal is undertaken during this benign phase, usually a simple procedure, then the condition is cured before any malignant change has occurred. However, there is no totally foolproof and safe screening procedure available. Most countries where screening for bowel cancer takes place use the same system we have at the Southern Independent Medical Practice.

Although it is well recognized that a number of conditions increase the risk of bowel cancer, for the majority of patients who develop this disease there is no apparent risk factor. Predisposition to bowel cancer is increased in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (Crohns disease and ulcerative colitis) and there is a clear genetic link in a few patients (e.g. in familial polyposis coli and hereditary non-polyposis colon cancer.)

In those patients without recognized risks, other factors can influence the development of cancer:

a. The prevalence of heart disease and colon cancer suggests that a diet rich in fat and meat is a common factor in both diseases.

b. A diet high in fat and low in fibre may increase the production of bacterial toxins in the bowel and these toxins can increase the risk of cancer there. Diets low in vitamins C and E and Selenium may increase the risk of bowel cancer

c. Previous surgery, including removal of the gallbladder and surgery on the stomach, seem now to increase the risk of lower bowel cancer, probably due to a change in bowel fats and bacterial changes in the bowel.

d. Eating a diet rich in fruit and vegetables reduces the risk of bowel cancer, by increasing fibre intake, reducing fat meat intake and by maintaining adequate vitamin and mineral intake.


Symptoms that require medical assessment.

        a. Rectal bleeding-any bleeding that occurs when the bars are open requires an explanation and although the reasons of leading maybe, and usually is, a simple condition like haemorrhoids, this should not be assumed without being checked.

        b. A change in bowel habit-it is normal to some people to have their bowels open several times a day and also normal to have your bowels open once or twice a week. However, any change in a patients normal bowel opening habit that lasts more than a month needs to be reported.

        c. Unexplained loss of weight-a loss of weight that is not deliberate, needs assessment.

        d. If quantities of mucus are passed  or there is a feeling that the bowel is not emptied satisfactorily, that persists for more than 2-3 weeks, then assessment is required.

e. Unexplained persistent abdominal pain needs to be checked, although pain is often not a symptom associated with bowel cancer.


The Southern Independent Medical Practice is pleased to discuss the place of genetic screening and other screening methods in those patients where there is a strong family history of bowel or other cancers, especially in first-degree relatives under 50.


The practice is pleased to discuss with patients any concerns about gastro- intestinal symptoms.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome covers a number (possibly a large number) of different conditions in which the bowel is oversensitive. The symptoms usually include some or all of the following: bloating, abdominal pain or distension, diarrhoea or constipation, together sometimes with malaise or headaches after meals. Tests need to be done to exclude conditions that are due to an abnormal condition of the bowel, but IBS should cause no threat to health but can be very distressing and disabling.

The causes of IBS are ill understood, but may include a sensitivity to certain foods or food components or additives or be due to a change in the balance of organisms in the bowel - gut dysbiosis, sometimes as a result of current or past exposure to antibiotics.

Apart from routine tests, there are a number of laboratories that can carry out, on our behalf, specialised tests of bowel function, or to look for abnormal food sensitivities. In this way appropriate action can be taken to alleviate the symptoms.

Company Registration No. 5819770, Registered in England & Wales
Registered Office: 35 Chequers Court, Brown Street, Salisbury, Wiltshire, SP1 2AS