May is Crohns and Colitis awareness month. Georgie Reid finds out more about these Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD) and why it is important to talk about them.
Inflammatory Bowel Diseases affect more than a quarter of a million people across the UK, but it is thought the number could be double this. Crohns disease and Ulcerative Colitis are often misdiagnosed, with many people unaware of their existence. The sensitive and sometimes embarassing symptoms make it difficult for people to feel confident speaking to a GP about it.
Although life-threatening cases of IBDs are rare, many patients are left with lasting effects, with some having to undergo surgery. They can experience painful flare-ups, and struggle with body confidence throughout their lifetime.
This fact sheet shows some statistics about IBD, and how it can affect people.
Hannah Reid has been suffering from Crohns disease for nearly three years, he feels it is important that people know more about IBDs.
“It’s a hidden disability,” she told me. “When people can’t see it, it makes it quite hard for people to sympathise and understand that you’re struggling.”
Events have taken place across the country to raise money and awareness for Crohns and Colitis UK, a charity which provides support and advice to people suffering with an IBD. These have included sky dives, the Tough Mudder challenge, and even the Great North Swim across Lake Windermere in early June.
The charity aims ultimately to find a cure for Crohns and Colitis via fundraising for research projects. However, they also aim to improve lives in the present, through awareness and advice.