The fight against inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) was taken to St Helier Hospital with an educational open day for the public.

More than 50 patients and their relatives attended on May 12, getting answers to questions often perceived as embarrassing.

St Helier's lead IBD consultant, Dr Asif Mahmood, said: "There are more than 700,000 people in the United Kingdom living with IBD.

"Yet it is largely an invisible disease, and one that causes stigma, fear and isolation – it’s thought that many people with the condition go undiagnosed and suffer in silence.

"The impact of IBD on education, work, social and family life can be devastating and the cost to the NHS is enormous."

He added that the disease is unpredictable, lifelong and potentially life-threatening.

World IBD Day takes place on May 19 each year and unites people across the world in their fight against Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative colitis.

Madhoor Ramdeen, IBD clinical nurse specialist at St Helier, said: "There is no known cure for IBD. However, a lot of progress has been made in the last two decades with regards to treatment.

"Some patients can have long sustained periods of remission as some treatments can block the progression of the disease towards bowel damage and disability.

"However, early detection is critical to improving outcomes."

Symptoms of IBD can include: diarrhoea (often with blood), severe abdominal pain, reduced appetite, vomiting, weight loss, extreme fatigue, swollen joints, mouth ulcers as well as eye, skin and liver problems.

Should you experience these symptoms, you can seek help from your local GP or contact St Helier IBD Team on: 020 8296 2340.