CROHN’S disease and ulcerative colitis – both inflammatory bowel diseases or IBD – can cause severe pain, suffering and symptoms for sufferers.
By OLIVIA LERCHE
Crohn’s Disease is a condition that causes inflammation of the digestive system or gut.
However, the condition can also affect other areas of the body, including joints and even liver conditions.
Ulcerative colitis is another example of inflammatory bowel disease – which causes condition that causes inflammation and ulceration of the inner lining of the rectum and colon (the large bowel).
In ulcerative colitis, tiny ulcers develop on the surface of the lining and these may bleed and produce pus.
They also found the condition is causing under 30s to feel embarrassed – 34 per cent – and isolated – 48 per cent when it comes to disclosing their disease and symptoms.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease not only causes physical pain, with 59 per cent of under 30s citing mental distress as being an ongoing symptom.
Kisty Gibson was diagnosed at the age of six and has spent 20 years coping with the condition – which she said can take a toll on her mental health too.
She has serious symptoms including joint problems, bad eyesight, drowsiness from her medication and an associated liver condition.
Last minute plans also make her feel anxious as she may not have access to a toilet.
“My friends sometimes like to do things last minute; however that often increases my anxiety, particularly if it’s a new location as I may not know where the nearest toilet is, which then leads to me worrying about if I would make it to the toilet in time and I often finding myself saying no, and the feelings of guilt kick in once more,” she said.
Experts said the prevalence of Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis is rising but the lack of awareness has not been helped by delays in identifying symptoms within the healthcare system.
Inflammatory bowel disease: Crohn’s and Colitis UK said more needs to be done to raise awareness and
The aim of this project will be to raise awareness of IBD amongst medical professionals and the general public, whilst helping GPs to recognise the signs of IBD and help treat and support individuals with the condition.
David Barker, chief executive of Crohn’s and Colitis UK said: “It is shocking to see there is still such low awareness, understanding and stigma around Crohn’s and Colitis.
“The results of this new survey paint a stark reality, yet they are sadly not surprising and the message is clear that things have to change if we are to make a positive difference to the growing numbers of people affected by these chronic conditions.
“People affected by Crohn’s or Colitis are not only having to deal with challenging medical symptoms, treatments and associated health problems but for many the emotional and psychological impact can be as debilitating.
“Greater awareness and better understanding of these conditions is crucial if we are to begin to break down the stigma and help to reduce the embarrassment and isolation of these lifelong diseases.
“Everyone has a role to play in helping to create this greater understanding.”