The message this Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Day, Thursday 19 May, is for IBD sufferers to not lose hope. Often diagnosed young between 15-30 years of age, it can be hard to come to terms with the lifelong condition.
Gastroenterologist Professor Terry Bolin stresses that “Living with IBD may involve you making lifestyle adjustments, but should not stop you from leading a fulfilling, productive and happy life.”
“Everyone has their own journey with IBD, it can vary enormously from patient to patient," says Prof Bolin.
Krystal Miller also known on social media as ‘Bag Lady Mama’ was diagnosed with crohn’s disease when she was 15, after a tough battle with the illness she had her bowel removed at age 22, and now has a permanent ileostomy bag. Krystal says of her struggle “There have been ups and downs, but I’ve seen and experienced life to the absolute fullest. I’ve travelled the world, lived in foreign countries and had two children. Nothing has ever stopped me - not without trying!”
“Between bouts of the disease, most people feel well. While IBD may require lifestyle adjustments, it should not be a barrier to marriage, sexual activity, having children, caring for a family, enjoying sport or other recreational activities,” said Prof Bolin.
Michelle was diagnosed at 24 and after battling her illness for years is now on a drug which works for her. “I now have a great job, travel a lot and enjoy life.” said Michelle. Unfortunately, Michelle’s son Callum was diagnosed with the disease at age 15, but he too is doing well on medication.
“Coping with IBD requires you to keep it under control, to do this you need to take your medication and make positive lifestyle changes,” said Prof Bolin.
Krystal Miller ‘Bag Lady Mama’ will be in Sydney for World IBD Day on 19 May and is available that morning for interviews. Prof Bolin and other IBD sufferers are also available for interviews, please contact Avril 0421 049 879 or [email protected] to arrange.
About Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
The term inflammatory bowel disease is used to describe two chronic disorders, crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, which both cause inflammation of the small and/or the large bowel, they can also affect parts of the body outside the bowel.
Symptoms can include diarrhea, fever and fatigue, abdominal pain and cramping, reduced appetite, blood in the stool and weight loss. IBD can’t be seen by the naked eye, and thus is referred to as an ‘invisible disease’. Treatments include a range of drugs which treat inflammation. Sometimes surgery is also required when these treatments are proving ineffective.
About the Gut Foundation: The Gut Foundation specialises in medical research to understand the causes of gut problems, better methods of prevention and treatment, and continually educating the public on the latest findings.
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Fact Sheet and other resources on IBD:
The Gut Foundation specialises in medical research to understand the causes of gut problems, better methods of prevention and treatment, and continually educating the public on the latest findings.