International Inflammatory Bowel Disease Day

International Inflammatory Bowel Disease Day

IBD is not IBS… Common IBD mistakes

Inflammatory Bowel Disease or IBD currently affects 300,000 people in the UK and IBD day aims to raise awareness of the condition, as well as debunk the myths that still surround this disease.

Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis are chronic (ongoing and life-long) conditions in which symptoms vary from person to person and will range from mild to severe.

Symptoms may also change over time, with periods of good health when you have few or no symptoms (remission) alternating with times when your symptoms are more active (relapses or ‘flare-ups’).

A common mistake is that IBD is confused with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) or it is believed IBD is caused or exacerbated by your diet. A recent survey performed by the Crohn’s and Colitis UK charity showed that this was the number one misunderstanding of the disease. Cutting various foods such as dairy, meat, gluten or even spicy foods is not a helpful suggestion and there is no scientific evidence to suggest dietary restrictions or alterations impact an attack. How a person’s body suffering with IBD reacts to food is totally individual and what one person can eat with no consequences may differ to the next.

The main symptoms of IBD are: Diarrhoea – This is sometimes mixed with blood, mucus and pus.

Cramping pains in the abdomen – These can be very severe and often occur before passing a stool.

Tiredness and fatigue – This can be due to the illness itself, from anaemia (see below) from the side effects of some of the drugs used for IBD or from a lack of sleep if you have to keep getting up at night with pain or diarrhoea.

Feeling generally unwell – Some people may feel feverish.

Loss of appetite and loss of weight – Weight loss can be due to the body not absorbing nutrients from the food you eat because of the inflammation in the gut.

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.

Mouth ulcers If you think you may have been affected and you have failed to receive the diagnosis or support you need, the Crohn’s and Colitis UK charity is available 24/7 to answer any queries you have. If you require further legal advice please contact our Clinical Negligence team at Wolferstans on 01752 292 360.

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