Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis are two main forms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) which together affect around 300,000 people in the UK.
If you suffer from stomach cramps it could be more serious because MANY people suffer with this “hidden” disease in silence.
Find out how to spot the symptoms here.
People suffering with the chronic condition often experience unexplained inflammation which leads to an irritated gut.
It can become swollen and red, as well as painful, resulting in stomach cramps and soreness.
IBD should not be confused with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) which is when your digestive system has something functionally wrong causing uncomfortable symptoms which usually last a few days at most.
On the other hand IBD is a chronic, lifelong and debilitating condition whereby the digestive system has something structurally and functionally wrong with it.
This frequently leads to severe internal inflammation, diarrhoea, blood in the faeces, and a cramping stomach.
The condition can lead to anaemia, fatigue and malnutrition in people and in severe cases may have to have surgery that could lead to a colostomy bag to collect waste products.
Unfortunately there still isn’t a cure for IBD but it can be kept under control using medication.
It’s estimated that 80% of people with Crohn’s Disease and 25% of those with ulcerative colitis will need surgery.
According to Crohn’s and Colitis UK, here are the the main symptoms of IBD.
One of the most debilitating elements of IBD is the sudden and unexpected need to use the toilet. You may experience diarrhoea which is sometimes mixed with blood, mucus and pus.
2. Cramping pains in the abdomen
Stomach pains and cramps can be very severe and often occur before doing a poo.
3. Tiredness and fatigue
Tiredness can be due to the illness itself, from anaemia, from the side effects of some of the drugs used to treat IBD or from a lack of sleep if you have to keep getting up at night with pain or diarrhoea.
4. Feeling generally unwell
Some people may feel feverish and generally ill due to IBD.
5. Loss of appetite and loss of weight
People can lose weight due to the body not absorbing nutrients from food because of the inflammation in the gut.
6. Anaemia (a reduced number of red blood cells)
You are more likely to develop anaemia if you are losing a lot of blood and are not eating much.
7. Mouth ulcers
Uncomfortable ulcers in the mouth can be a sign of the condition.
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