This week is Crohn’s & Colitis Awareness Week so I’m going to be doing something a little different on my blog today. I don’t talk about personal things much on here, but I’m hoping by sharing my experiences of living with Crohn’s Disease it will help raise awareness.
There are a range of symptoms and not everyone’s experience of Crohn’s Disease is the same. This post will be explaining a bit about Crohn’s Disease and what my personal experience of the condition has been.
Most people I meet have never heard of Crohn’s Disease. According to Crohn’s & Colitis UK, it’s estimated that one in every 650 people in the UK are affected by Crohn’s Disease. But sadly it’s a misunderstood and often stigmatised condition.
Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis are the two main forms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). They are chronic conditions that can be managed through various treatment options, including medication and surgery.
Crohn’s Disease causes inflammation of the digestive system or gut. Symptoms vary from person to person, but include diarrhoea, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, mouth ulcers, weight loss, anaemia, joint pain, as well as wider health complications. I’ve experienced all of these symptoms at various points in the last 15 years. You can find more detailed information about Crohn’s Disease on the Crohn’s & Colitis UK website.
Management of diet is also important for coping with Crohn’s Disease day-to-day for many people, although the extent food affects people seems to vary, and everyone has different foods they can and cannot tolerate. I can’t eat any whole grains or oats at all. While there are some foods I can eat in moderation with careful planning, for example cheese and chocolate.
I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease at the age of 9 and to be honest, I don’t really remember a time when I wasn’t ill. People are diagnosed at all stages of life, some in childhood, some in their teens, some in early adulthood, some later in life.
The condition is life-long, although there can be periods of relative wellness interspersed with flare ups. For me it’s been an endless cycle. I’ll be very unwell, then have a few months or years of being fairly well, and then have another flare up, over and over again in a cycle. Stress can be a trigger for flares, which has happened to me a couple of times. It’s important to remember that Crohn’s Disease doesn’t go away during those ‘good’ periods. I still suffer from bad fatigue, still have to be careful to avoid trigger foods, and sometimes still get symptoms.Read More »