Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Week 2018

Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Week 2018

You may have noticed across social media that this week is Crohn’s and Colitis awareness week; both of these are forms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease and make up a substantial amount of the ostomates in the world. I wanted to talk to you a little bit about what each one is according to the medical information you can find on various outlets.

Firstly we will start with Colitis as more people on social media seem to have Crohn’s and Colitis isn’t mentioned as much or so I feel – maybe this is because once you have an end ileostomy you can’t have active disease or if you have a Jpouch you may go into remission hopefully long term but not always the case. So the people with Colitis don’t often talk about what has happened to them once they have gone into remission or have no colon/rectum. Also I have/had whichever way you want to look at it Ulcerative Colitis. Ulcerative Colitis is a long term condition that affects the colon also known as large intestine/large bowel and the rectum, small ulcers are formed due to the lining becoming inflamed and causing pus these ulcers can bleed and that is what you see when you have had a bowel movement.

  • foods can trigger you to relapse although it isn’t isolated to food
  • stress can be a big factor for some people
  • diarrhoea is a common symptom – although I had constipation not diarrhoea
  • abdominal pain
  • frequent visits to the toilet
  • fatigue, loss of appetite and weight loss are also common symptoms
  • painful and swollen joints
  • mouth ulcers
  • areas of painful, red and swollen skin
  • irritated and red eyes
  • in severe cases, defined as having to empty your bowels six or more times a day
  • shortness of breath
  • a fast or irregular heartbeat
  • a high temperature (fever)
  • blood in your stools being more noticeable
  • it is often treated with aminosalicylates (ASAs), corticosteroids and immunosuppressants
  • when surgery is needed a jpouch is often formed which is where the large bowel is removed and the small bowel is attached to the rectum, a temporary stoma is formed to allow the bowel to heal
  • if the colitis returns in the pouch often referred to as pouchitis the pouch is removed and the rectum sewn up and a permanent stoma is formed

Now its all about Crohn’s disease; which is a lifelong disease which can affect all along your digestive tract from your mouth to your rectum – it can also turn “microscopic” and affect other organs such as the vagina which is called Vulvar Crohn’s. Having a stoma won’t take away all of the active disease as it can affect such a large portion of the body however it may allow you to go into remission and give you quality of life back.

  • diarrhoea
  • stomach aches and cramps
  • blood in your poo
  • tiredness (fatigue)
  • weight loss
  • a high temperature (fever)
  • feeling and being sick
  • joint pains
  • sore, red eyes
  • patches of painful, red and swollen skin – usually on the legs
  • mouth ulcers
  • medicines to reduce inflammation in the digestive system – corticosteroids and immunosuppressants
  • surgery to remove a small part of the digestive system – this can sometimes be a better treatment option than medicines
  • Jpouches can be formed for people with Crohn’s but may not have the same remission rate as those with UC

Do you have Inflammatory Bowel Disease? What do you have and how does it affect your life?

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