Last week TOWIE star Sam Faiers talked about her ongoing battle with Crohn’s Disease which affects 100,000 people in the UK. Here’s what you need to know
What is Crohn’s Disease? Crohn’s Disease is an inflammatory bowel disease that affects over 100,000 people in the UK. It causes the intestines to become inflamed and leaves ulcers on the gut lining.
What are the symptoms? Symptoms can include severe abdominal pain, opening your bowels at night, passing blood when you go to the toilet, losing weight or being unable to gain weight, tiredness and fatigue, swollen joints, mouth ulcers and sometimes abscesses around the back passage.
Sometimes symptoms are mild and get temporarily better over time, and as a result some people feel tempted to try and deal with the problem themselves by changing what they eat or taking painkillers.
Research shows that over one third of patients with the disease wait a year or more before they go and see their doctor, and overcoming this delay has become a real challenge for specialists dealing with Crohn’s.
What treatment options are available for Crohn’s? Due to the varying symptoms, treatments for Crohn’s can differ from person to person. Sometimes, and in mild cases, the disease can be managed with specialist dietary therapy by taking probiotics or by using anti-inflammatory medication. Vitamin and mineral supplements can help, and stronger anti-inflammatory medication (like steroids) can also be used.
If Crohn’s is severe or recurrent, medications to suppress the over-active immune system are required. New treatments are being introduced all the time. In some cases, surgery might be required or even be the best treatment depending on how Crohn’s has affected the gut.
How do you reduce the chance of developing Crohn’s Disease? If you have or think you might have Crohn’s Disease to see a specialist as soon as possible. Crohn’s is a lifelong condition, but with help you can achieve long periods of remission and a number of charities are also available to offer information and support. Early detection of most diseases, including Crohn’s, usually offers a wider range of options and a greater chance of survival. If in doubt, speak to your doctor.
Help and support: Crohn’s and Colitis UK