Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis both come under the heading of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), because in both, the intestines become swollen, inflamed and ulcerated.
Crohn’s Disease can cause inflammation in all layers of the lining of the bowel and can affect any part of the gastrointestinal system, from the mouth to the anus.
Ulcerative Colitis causes inflammation only in the inner lining of the bowel and only affects the Colon (large intestine).
Who is affected by these illnesses?
About 150,000 people in the UK suffer from Crohn’s or Colitis.
The illnesses can occur at any age but most frequently start between the ages of 15 and 40 years of age.
There are more than 5,000 new cases every year and research has shown that the number of people with Crohn’s Disease has been rising, particularly among young people.
Both conditions are found worldwide but are more common in the Western World.
What are the symptoms?
The most common symptoms are abdominal pain and diarrhoea.
Rectal fever, bleeding and weight loss may also occur. Perhaps this may sound trivial – but it affects all day-to-day life. Imagine not being able to go on long journeys for fear of needing the toilet or not being able to watch your child play in a sports match because there are no toilets nearby.
Living with a stomach upset 24/7 is not trivial.
These are some of the everyday activities that you may take for granted that aren’t so easy for someone with Crohn’s:
- A pain free day
- Being spontaneous
- Going on long car journeys
- Going on holiday
- Going to a bar or club
- Watching your child play sport
- Taking the tube to work
What causes Crohn’s Disease?
Although there has been much research, so far the causes are not known. There have been many suggestions such as viruses, bacteria, genetics and diet but there is no definite evidence that any one of these is the cause of Inflammatory Bowel Disease.
Money raised from forCrohns helps towards the continued research into the causes and cures of Crohn’s Disease.
What is the cure for Crohn’s Disease?
At this time treatment, through medication or surgery, can help control Crohn’s Disease but there is currently no cure.