Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis are lifelong gastrointestinal disorders that commonly present themselves in children, adolescents and adults.
Collectively known as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), the conditions are an emerging global disease, with Australia having one of the highest prevalence in the world. More than 80,000 Australians live with these conditions, with numbers expected to increase to more than 100,000 by 2022.
What are the symptoms?
Typical symptoms include the frequent and urgent need to use the toilet, diarrhoea, loss of appetite, fatigue and weight loss. This can often result in depression, anxiety and isolation in sufferers.
The conditions are becoming more prevalent, more severe and more complex and are being diagnosed in more and more young patients.
What causes it?
No one knows for certain yet what causes IBD but it is believed to be a combination of genetic, environmental and immunological factors.
Exposure to environmental triggers – possibly viruses, bacteria and/or proteins – prompts the immune system to switch on its normal defence mechanism (inflammation) against a foreign substance.
Prolonged inflammation eventually damages the walls of the gastrointestinal tract and causes the symptoms of IBD.
What treatment is available?
IBD cannot be cured as yet but it can be managed effectively, especially with the use of medications and specialist care to control the abnormal inflammatory response, aiming to help reduce the frequency of flare-ups and maintain remission.
Raising awareness for Crohn’s and colitis
May is Crohn’s and colitis awareness month. It’s an annual campaign held in Australia to raise awareness about the impact of living with Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis.
Throughout May, Crohn’s & Colitis Australia (CCA) will help raise awareness of IBD, encouraging Australians diagnosed with IBD to join a conversation about the challenges of this invisible disease.
Go purple on World IBD Day
May 19 is World IBD Day, a day dedicated for raising awareness for inflammatory bowel disease across the world.
You can show your support for those living with IBD on this special day. All you have to do is wear something purple – it could be a wig or simply a purple ribbon. It’s all about starting the conversation about Crohn’s and colitis, and having fun while you do it.
Are you suffering from IBD?
If you have any concerns, our team of doctors in Pascoe Vale can help you.
Don’t suffer in silence – make an appointment today. You can book online, on Facebook, on the Appointuit app or by calling 9304 0500.
Note: This information is of a general nature only and should not be substituted for medical advice. It does not replace consultations with qualified healthcare professionals to meet your individual medical needs.