New figures

Figures from Crohn’s and Colitis Australia (CCA) have revealed the number of Australians with Crohn’s disease or colitis will increase by more than 20,000 in the next three years.

Research shows more young patients are being diagnosed as the condition becomes more prevalent and complex.

Crohn’s Disease in Australia

According to CCA, more than 80,000 Australians live with Crohn’s Disease or colitis, with numbers expected to increase to more than 100,000 by 2022.

CCA Chief Executive Officer, Associate Professor Leanne Raven said many Australians are unaware of how debilitating Crohn’s and colitis can be as the effects are largely internal.

“It can limit their [patients] ability to conduct their daily life, like going to work or university or even taking the dog for a walk,” she said.

Researchers also say the disease not only causes physical and painful symptoms but can also affect mental health.

“It’s not only painful, it can also be really embarrassing and people and develop fears and feel quite shameful about it,” Associate Professor Raven said.

What causes Crohn’s Disease and colitis?

Crohn’s Disease occurs when inflammation occurs in the bowel, affecting layers of bowel tissue. Similarly, colitis is caused by colon inflammation, which can often be caused by Crohn’s.

It’s uncertain what initially causes these diseases, though doctors believe genetic, environmental and immunological factors could play a part.

Common symptoms

Both diseases present similar, if not, the same symptoms. These include:

  • Abdominal cramping
  • Diarrhoea
  • Bleeding (which can result in anaemia)
  • Fevers during active stages of the disease
  • Reduced appetite
  • Unexplained weight loss.

If you’re experiencing one or a combination of these symptoms, consult with your regular GP for further information.