Search icon

Fitness & Health

19th May 2023

Crohn’s and Colitis: The symptoms you should look out for

Charlie Herbert

Crohn's disease

Brought to you by Crohn’s & Colitis UK.

Cut the crap. What’s really going on with your bowels?

Stomach pain, diarrhoea, or even blood in your poo. If you’ve experienced any of these symptoms, you’ll know they can really take a toll on your life. 

You might be skipping your favourite meal because you can’t stomach it anymore, or hitting that snooze button every morning even though you go to bed at a reasonable time. Perhaps you decided not to go out last weekend because you were worried about being caught short in a toilet queue at a club.

You may find it tempting to brush these symptoms off as something minor. You might blame your dodgy stomach, food intolerance, exam or relationship stress, or assume you’ve eaten something that didn’t agree with you.

What you might not know is that dismissing these symptoms is dangerous, as they are among the warning signs of Crohn’s and Colitis. Even if you don’t have all the symptoms, and even if your symptoms come and go.

Crohn’s and Colitis affect more than 500,000 people in the UK. In both conditions, the immune system goes into overdrive, attacking healthy tissue in the gut. Both Crohn’s and Colitis can develop at any age, although one in four will be diagnosed with the condition before they are 30.

In the majority of cases, patients first visit their GP with stomach pain, diarrhoea, tiredness that doesn’t go away or blood in their poo. Delaying treatment can leave people needing stronger medication or even emergency surgery to remove part of their bowel.

We get it – it is embarrassing to talk about our guts. If your symptoms persist, you might be tempted to manage them in silence, or perhaps even try out a few remedies you find online. Unfortunately, the internet is awash with unverified medical treatments, making it difficult for all of us to distinguish between reliable medical advice and utter nonsense – some of it dangerous. 

The charity Crohn’s & Colitis UK said it had been contacted by dozens of young people who have taken some very dangerous advice. One had tried eating only fruit, another just ate jelly while a third had lived on gummy bears and bran flakes for a year.

Cut The Crap is a new campaign that aims to shock people out of ignoring their symptoms. It also challenges the alternative “cures” touted online that make no difference to people’s health. As part of the campaign, they launched an online symptom checker, developed by doctors. 

If these symptoms sound like you, why not spend 30 seconds filling in Crohn’s & Colitis UK’s online symptom checker? It is quick and easy to use and you can take a copy of the results to your GP to chat about what has been going on.

The sooner you get help, the sooner you can start living your life.

Brought to you by Crohn’s & Colitis UK.

Stomach pain, diarrhoea or blood in poo can be a sign of Crohn’s and Colitis. Don’t ignore your symptoms. Even if your symptoms come and go, or you don’t experience them all. Cut the Crap. Take 30 seconds to check your symptoms.