Gastrointestinal and liver disorders

Ira Madan and Simon Hellier

in Fitness for Work

Fifth edition

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print January 2013 | ISBN: 9780199643240
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191755668 | DOI:

Series: Landmark Papers

Gastrointestinal and liver disorders

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  • Occupational Medicine
  • Public Health and Epidemiology
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Gastroenterology


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Few disorders of the gastrointestinal systems, bar infections, are caused or exacerbated by the work environment. More commonly, gastrointestinal disorders and associated symptoms limit the capacity of individuals to undertake the duties required for their job. The symptoms and treatment of some disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease may lead to the employee requiring periods of long-term sickness absence, to recover from surgery for instance. Advances in investigation, medical treatment, and surgery should improve symptom control and prognosis in many individuals, enabling them to remain in employment. Conditions likely to cause employment problems or risks to individuals and the public include: Inflammatory bowel disease Ileostomy and ileo-anal pouch Irritable bowel disease Gastroenteritis and gastrointestinal infections Viral hepatitis Chronic liver disease Obesity. The Equality Act 20101 is likely to apply to disorders affecting the ability to control defecation. Therefore conditions that lead to regular minor faecal incontinence or to even infrequent loss of bowel control are likely to be defined as a disability under the Act. This will include many cases of ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. The occupational health practitioner has a key role in supporting employees with this disability who understandably may wish the details of their symptoms to remain medically confidential. Liaison with the employer about the nature of any support or adjustments required will be a key aspect of assessment of fitness to work.

Chapter.  11328 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Occupational Medicine ; Public Health and Epidemiology ; Occupational Therapy ; Gastroenterology

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