Crohn’s & Colitis
This information has been provided with kind permission from Crohn’s and Colitis UK - a nationwide charity committed to providing information and support, funding crucial research and working to improve healthcare services for anyone affected by Inflammatory Bowel Disease.
For further information please download the full patient publication from Crohn’s and Colitis UK
Over 260,000 people in the UK have Ulcerative Colitis or Crohn’s Disease – about 1 person in 250.
The two main forms of Inflammatory Bowel disease (IBD) are Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis (UC). Living with one of these conditions can be quite a challenge.
These illnesses can occur at any age, but most frequently start in people aged between 10 and 40.
Recent surveys suggest that Crohn’s is becoming increasingly common, especially among young people. Both conditions are found worldwide, but are more common in developed countries.
In both Crohn’s and UC, parts of the digestive system, which includes the bowels (intestines), become swollen, inflamed and ulcerated. There are some differences – mainly in the areas affected and the likely depth of inflammation.
- Affects the rectum and colon (large intestine).
- Only the inner lining of the bowel is inflamed.
- May affect any part of the digestive system from mouth to anus.
- All layers of the lining of the bowel may be inflamed.
Common symptoms include pain, diarrhoea (sometimes with blood), weight loss and tiredness. Some people develop anaemia or have problems with their joints, skin and eyes. Both Crohn’s and UC are chronic conditions that can flare-up unpredictably, although you may also have periods of good health. There is no cure at present.
Is IBD the same as IBS?
No. IBS stands for Irritable Bowel Syndrome. This is a different condition, although some of the symptoms are similar. Like IBD, IBS can cause abdominal pain, bloating and bouts of diarrhoea or constipation. However, it does not cause the type of inflammation typical of Crohn’s or UC, and there is no blood loss with IBS.
© Crohn’s and Colitis UK 2015