Monday, June 18, 2007

Irritable bowel disease, still taboo?

Irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis) affect many people in North America and yet, few people want to talk about it.

According to the Canadian Society of Intestinal Research, there are approximately 10,000 new cases of IBD diagnosed in Canada every year. Since IBD is a disease that usually hits people between the ages of 15 and 50 years, this disease is striking people when they are just starting out on their careers and adult life, and often in the prime of their life. The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of Canada says that there are an estimated 170,000 Canadian men and women who have IBD.

Stats Canada says that 8,320 people in Canada were admitted to a hospital because of IBD in 2000/01, but since some people are admitted more than once, they made up a total of 12,248 hospital admissions during that time period.

If you have IBD or IBS, it’s more than just having some problems with diarrhea or constipation. It can affect your whole life. If you have severe cramping and don’t know when and if it will hit; if you always have to be sure you are near a bathroom in case you have to make a run for it; if you can’t go visit people because you’re afraid that you’ll have to use their one bathroom for too long a period of time, then you have an illness that affects more than just how you feel physically.

People often confuse IBS and IBD. While IBS does cause many of the same symptoms as IBD, those who have IBD also deal with inflammation in the intestines and other physical problems as a result of the IBD. IBS, generally, causes abdominal pain, bloating and irregular bowel movements.

People who have IBD are usually followed by gastroenterologists, doctors who specialize in the gut. There is a lot of research going on regarding IBD and IBS because it does affect people so much. Also, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis can cause serious complications and has caused death in some people.

This is one of the diseases and disorders that we need to talk about. Teen-agers who are newly diagnosed are often very embarrassed and self-conscious about their new reality. By making it less of a taboo, we may be able to find ways to accommodate and to reassure those who find themselves living with IBD or IBS.

News for today:
Men urged to put machismo aside in cancer fight
Potentially addictive sleep aids recalled
Gum Disease in Postmenopausal Women Linked to Oral Bone Loss

1 comment:

Alan said...

IBS is what sent me to the Mayo Clinic where I learned just because doctors say there isn't anything more they can do, it doesn't mean there isn't anything more that can be done! It's also what started me down the path of complementary and alternative medicine.

UnBreak Your Health is the book I wish had been available a few years ago. It's easy to read and the place to begin your own healing journey.