Did You Know? Facts About Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis

Both Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative Colitis (UC) are both Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), which both affect the gastrointestinal tract.

Not to be confused with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) which is characterized as a spastic bowel functional syndrome, Crohn’s and UC cause inflammation, ulcers, and damage to the bowel. Although Crohn’s and UC share many characteristics, they have some differences.

Who is affected by Crohn’s and UC?

  • There are approx. 233,000 Canadians with IBD
  • 129,000 have Crohn's disease
  • 104,000 have Ulcerative Colitis (UC)
  • Crohn’s and Colitis affect men and women equally.
  • 20% of people with ulcerative colitis have a blood relative with the same illness.

What happens when you have one of these illnesses?

Crohn’s and UC often present with frequent and recurring symptoms of:

  • Diarrhea
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Fever
  • Abdominal pain and cramping
  • Fatigue and lethargy
  • Reduced appetite
  • Tenesmus (sudden and constant feeling to move your bowels).

When does diagnosis happen?

  • The onset of symptoms can happen at any time in a person’s life, but most people are commonly diagnosed between the ages of 15-30.
  • Symptoms of Crohn’s and UC can occur at any time or in any place. Despite medications and therapies available, many find they experience lifelong symptoms.

Where are the biggest challenges for those suffering with IBS or a related illness?

  • Those with IBD has often hindered from travelling or leaving this house because of access to washrooms. Crohn’s and Colitis Canada provides the GoHere Washroom Access Program which provides a digital app to help individuals find accessible washrooms, provide access cards, and raises awareness in businesses and in the public about Crohn’s and UC.

Why do people get sick?

The cause of IBD is not known. Crohn’s and UC are not caused by something a person ingested or ate but are thought to be attributed to these factors/combination of factors:

  • Genetics
  • The Environment
  • The Immune Systems Reaction/Overreaction

How can people manage Crohn’s?

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