A brief 

Overview

Chronic conditions are those which in most cases cannot be cured, only controlled, and are often life-long and limiting in terms of quality of life. Instacrohns specifically looks at Crohn's Disease & Ulcerative Colitis. Understanding the effects and issues of a chronic illness is important for everyone. With the right level of knowledge, we are able to deal with our condition and help support those around us. 

Crohn's

Disease 

Crohn’s Disease is a condition that causes inflammation of the digestive system or gut. Crohn’s can affect any part of the gut, though the most common area affected  is the end of the ileum (the last part of the small intestine), or the colon. The areas of inflammation are often patchy with sections of normal gut in between. A patch of inflammation may be small, only a few centimetres, or extend quite a distance along part of the gut. As well as affecting the lining of the bowel, Crohn’s may also go deeper into the bowel wall. It’s one of the two main forms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). The other is Ulcerative Colitis.

(Crohn's & Colitis UK, 2016)

The symptoms of Crohn's disease vary, depending on which part of the digestive system is inflamed.

Common symptoms include:

  • recurring diarrhoea

  • abdominal pain and cramping, which is usually worse after eating

  • extreme tiredness (fatigue)

  • unintended weight loss

  • blood and mucus in your faeces (stools)

You may experience all or only one of the above. Some people experience severe symptoms, but others only have mild problems.

 

There may be long periods, lasting for weeks or months, where you have very mild or no symptoms (known as remission), followed by periods where the symptoms are particularly troublesome (known as flare-ups or relapses).

Less common symptoms include:

  • a high temperature (fever) of 38C (100F) or above

  • feeling sick (nausea)

  • being sick (vomiting)

  • joint pain and swelling (arthritis)

  • inflammation and irritation of the eyes (uveitis)

  • areas of painful, red and swollen skin – most often the legs

  • mouth ulcers

Children with Crohn's disease may grow at a slower rate than expected, because the inflammation can prevent the body absorbing nutrients from food.

(NHS, 2016)

Ulcerative

Colitis

Ulcerative Colitis is a condition that causes inflammation and ulceration of the inner lining of the rectum and colon (the large bowel). In UC, ulcers develop on the surface of the lining and these may bleed and produce mucus. The inflammation usually begins in the rectum and lower colon, but it may affect the entire colon. If UC only affects the rectum, it is called proctitis, while if it affects the whole colon it may be called total colitis or pancolitis. 

It’s one of the two main forms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). Ulcerative Colitis is a chronic condition. This means that it is ongoing and lifelong, although you may have long periods of good health known as remission, as well relapses or flare-ups when your symptoms are more active. 

(Crohn's & Colitis UK, 2016)

The main symptoms of ulcerative colitis are:

 

  • recurring diarrhoea, which may contain blood, mucus or pus

  • abdominal (tummy) pain

  • needing to empty your bowels frequently

  • You may also experience fatigue (extreme tiredness), loss of appetite and weight loss.

 

The severity of the symptoms varies, depending on how much of the rectum and colon is inflamed and how severe the inflammation is. For some people, the condition has a significant impact on their everyday lives. Symptoms of a flare-up

Some people may go for weeks or months with very mild symptoms, or none at all (known as remission), followed by periods where the symptoms are particularly troublesome (known as flare-ups or relapses). During a flare-up, some people with ulcerative colitis also experience symptoms elsewhere in their body. For example, some people develop:

 

  • painful and swollen joints (arthritis)

  • mouth ulcers

  • areas of painful, red and swollen skin

  • irritated and red eyes

In severe cases, defined as having to empty your bowels six or more times a day, additional symptoms may include:

 

  • shortness of breath

  • a fast or irregular heartbeat

  • a high temperature (fever)

  • blood in your stools becoming more obvious

In most people, no specific trigger for flare-ups is identified, although a gut infection can occasionally be the cause. Stress is also thought to be a potential factor.

(NHS, 2016)

The materials in this web site are in no way intended to replace the professional medical care, advice, diagnosis or treatment of a doctor.

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