By Isabelle Blexill
Saturday 19th May is World IBD Day; a day where Crohn’s and Colitis UK aim to raise awareness for inflammatory bowel disease. Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative Colitis are the two main forms of inflammatory bowel disease, affecting more than 300,000 people in the UK. IBD is known as an ‘invisible illness’ as it is not visually obvious that someone suffers from the diseases.
There are many different symptoms when it comes to IBD. The main symptoms are abdominal pain (often severe), nausea and vomiting and diarrhoea. However, there are other symptoms which can often occur as a result of IBD such as depression, anxiety and chronic fatigue.
To raise awareness for IBD, Crohn’s and Colitis are urging people to have bake sales to raise awareness for the illnesses and raise money for the charity. These funds could enable vital research, provide information and support for those who are in need and ensure that people receive higher standards of care. Crohn’s and Colitis UK are providing people with bake fundraising packs which people are able to apply for via their website. The bake packs include recipes, purple icing (colour associated with Crohn’s and Colitis UK and IBD awareness) and cupcake flags. Get your ‘Bake it’ pack and help raise awareness here.
I spoke to Zaineb, an IBD blogger about her experience with Crohn’s disease. She has been living with the condition for 8 years and said her first symptoms were swollen lips which kept getting her sent to the dentist.
“I had doctors telling me ‘you’re a mystery’ or ‘its stress/IBS’, which really makes you realise how ignored IBD is. I lost a rapid amount of weight in a short time period, and couldn’t keep any food down. I was in constant pain and knew this had to be more than exam stress. I had to end up self diagnosing myself before eventually getting a Crohns diagnosis”.
I wanted to know what World IBD Day meant to her and why it is so important as a sufferer of Crohn’s disease.
“Its through charities such as Crohns and colitis UK and world IBD day that you feel more connected to other people who also have IBD. IBD can be very isolating, so days such as this are great as theres more awareness and inclusivity. I’ve seen a lot of peoples stories and its inspired me to keep pushing! IBD comes in all different shapes and sizes, and most importantly, its invisible. World IBD day is a great way for the community to bring visibility to the misunderstood invisibility of very common conditions.”