Monday 4th December 2017
Day 2 of Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Week – #makingtheinvisiblevisible
What is Crohn’s Disease?
“Crohn’s Disease, oh that’s like Irritable Bowel Syndrome right?”
Not quite! Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis are two forms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease affecting over 300,000 people in the UK. They are chronic conditions which mean that they are ongoing and life-long, causing extreme pain, fistulas, fatigue, diarrhoea, anaemia, depression, osteoporosis, severe weight loss, joint pain and mouth ulcers and treatment can include dietary changes, medication and surgery.
Every 30 minutes someone new is diagnosed with Crohn’s or Colitis and 1 in 4 people newly diagnosed are under 16. In 2016, the leading charity for
the conditions here in the UK, ‘Crohn’s and Colitis UK’, raised an impressive £4.2 million and their campaign for accessible toilet signs saw over 19,000 emails sent to the CEOs of the UK’s four largest supermarket chains and has led to the adoption of new toilet signs in over 2,000 stores and counting which is a revolution for people like myself who carry the charity’s ‘URGENT Can’t Wait’ card in anticipation of being caught out and needing the loo whilst in a public place. Luckily in 12 years I have never had to use my card, and I’m hoping that with these new signs on public toilets being on the rise, I won’t have to.
After 12 years from diagnosis, It has become normal for me to live with Crohn’s Disease but the reality is that I am hyper aware of my digestion and managing my bowel movements is always a priority. After eating, I know that I must have access to a toilet which when at home is not a consideration, however, when I am out or travelling it causes me some anxiety and I have to be mindful where the next toilet is should I need one. Thank goodness for those signs!!
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