Always remember Crohn's disease and Ulcerative Colitis are chronic conditions. Currently there is no cure. Both conditions alternate between remission (where there are no symptoms) and relapses (when symptoms return) during your life. There can be months or years between them but it is important that you report symptoms as soon as possible, so they don’t get out of control.
Ulcerative Colitis is a condition that causes inflammation and ulceration of the inner lining of the rectum and colon (the large bowel). In UC, tiny ulcers develop on the surface of the lining and these may bleed and produce mucus. The inflammation usually begins in the rectum and lower colon, but it may affect the entire colon. If UC only affects the rectum, it is called proctitis, while if it affects the whole colon it may be called pancolitis.
Crohn's Disease is a condition that causes inflammation of the digestive system or gut. Crohn’s can affect any part of the gut, though the most commmon area affected is the end of the ileum (the last part of the small intestine), or the colon. The areas of inflammation are often patchy with sections of normal gut in between. A patch of inflammation may be small, only a few centimeters, or extend quite a distance along part of the gut. As well as affecting the lining of the bowel, Crohns’s may also go deeper into the bowel wall.
Managing my flare
A replase of your inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is often called a ‘flare’. If your bowel habit has been settled and begins to change, it might be that your IBD is becoming active again.
Points to Note
- Have you been going to the toilet more than 5 times in 24 hours?
- Are your stools loose or have you had any diarrhea with any blood/mucus in them for more than 3 days?
- Have you had abdominal pain?
- If you should have had any of these issues you should be assessed as soon as possible.