For those of you that don't know, IBD stands for Inflammatory Bowel Disease or Disorder. These include Crohn's, Colitis, Diverticulitis, Irritable Bowel Disorder and others. They are all diseases that deal with the digestive tract causing a range of symptoms, from mild to severe. The main symptoms in common are nausea, vomiting, inflammation and abdominal pain.
I think it's great that these diseases have finally come out of the bathroom and into the light. Twenty years ago when I was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease, I had never even heard the word before. Many people back then and for years before, suffered in silence, embarrassed to speak to their doctors, or anyone for that matter, about their washroom habits. It was only when the disease progressed to require hospitalization or surgery that it was spoken of, and a diagnosis made.
We've come a long way baby!
Today there are tests such as colonoscopies, blood tests, barium tests, X-rays, MRI's and CAT scans that are done when symptoms arise. There are new treatments that work better, with less negative side effects.
There are also associations like the Crohn's and Colitis Foundations of Canada (CCFC), America (CCFA) and other countries around the world that help patients everyday. These foundations and their members put on campaigns such as "The Heel-And-Wheel-Athon" and "The Annual M&M Meats BBQ", to help raise awareness and funds for research to find cures.
Patients can also get involved with the support groups foundations offer, to find and connect with others that cope with the same things, and have the same challenges in common. Groups are so important and positive, in that patients can get together, and know that they are not alone.
Having a "World IBD Week" denotes the strides in awareness that have been made, and the internet has proven to be a major push in the right direction for this movement. Information about all of these diseases are at anyone's fingertips, with the click of a mouse. Social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and others all have groups specifically for patients, their families and friends.
So if you are curious about these diseases, google them. If you think you may have one of them, see your Doctor. And if you know someone that has an IBD, give them a hug! I know they will appreciate it!