Living with Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis can be painful, draining and embarrassing.
It’s even uncomfortable to discuss, acknowledge and talk about.
Clinical nurse specialist with Port Macquarie Gastroenterology and Endoscopy Clyte May says treatment for the inflammatory bowel diseases has vastly improved in the last decade.
“These invisible diseases do not know any age barrier or gender,” she said.
“We would urge anyone with symptoms to seek out their GP and get a referral to a specialist.
“Once diagnosed, we would stress to patients the importance of getting regular check ups and not simply become accepting that ‘this is my lot and there’s nothing that can be done’.
“The improvement in treatment even in the last 10 years has been vast.”
Inflammatory bowel disease is widespread with the list of diagnosed patients growing. There are some 80,000 patients around Australia and about 150 patients with Port Macquarie Gastroenterology and Endoscopy alone.
Symptoms can include, high frequency of bowel movement – sometimes as much as 15 to 20 times a day, severe or persistent diarrhoea in which blood and or mucus may be present, abdominal pain and weight loss.
“You can also experience low iron levels, and a loss of energy,” Ms May said.
“While this is considered a chronic disease – and life long – the management strategies now available are excellent.
“Essentially that management is about reducing the inflammation and at times winding back the immune response.”
Port Macquarie Gastroenterology and Endoscopy is hosting a patient information evening in August that targets patients and relatives or significant others.
Ms May says the event is being driven by the audience and will feature a question and answer session.
Gastroenterologists Dr Stuart Kostalas and Dr Praka Sundaralingam and dietitian Emma Schwartzkoff along with Ms May will form part of the interactive evening.
The evening is at the Rushcutter Room at Panthers Port Macquarie on Thursday August 3 at 6.30pm. To attend, email firstname.lastname@example.org to register or msg 0467 084 413.