Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Week is December 1 – 7.
Crohn’s and Colitis both fall under the category of Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (commonly shortened to IBD). Crohn’s and Colitis affect the gastrointestinal tract (commonly shortened to GI Tract). The difference between the two is: Ulcerative Colitis is limited to the colon (or large intestines) and Crohn’s Disease can affect any part of the GI tract. IBD affects about 1.6 million Americans. These diseases tend to be hereditary, and affect males and females equally. They are both chronic diseases. Caucasians are more likely to have IBD. It is hard to diagnose which disease the patient is suffering from because both have similar symptoms.
Common symptoms of the GI tract:
• Rectal bleeding
• Urgent need to move bowels
• Abdominal cramps and pain
• Sensation of incomplete evacuation
• Constipation (can lead to bowel obstruction)
• Loss of appetite
• Weight Loss
• Night sweats
• Loss of normal menstrual cycle
Crohn’s and Colitis are known as invisible diseases though they significantly affect the person’s quality of life. By bringing awareness and understanding, we can only strengthen the fight to find treatment and cures for these diseases. As of today, there is no cure for these diseases.