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Crohn’s and colitis: The invisible diseases

Crohn’s disease can be somewhat of an “invisible disease.”

Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, collectively known as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), are serious and chronic, causing symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhoea, bleeding and fevers.

But because their impacts are largely internal, they can be hard for other people – sometimes even health professionals – to perceive.

This was something Amy Benn, a registered nurse and personal trainer who was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at 14 years old, found during her journey to diagnosis.

‘As a teenager, I wanted to live a normal life and I just kept going, I was quite persistent,’ she told newsGP. ‘It was a slow leak in the tank, and I was coping quite well with it – even though I could hardly drag myself up and down the basketball court, and was sleeping every day when I came home from school.

‘But when my Mum saw how much blood I was losing every time I went to the bathroom, she took me straight to emergency. I walked in looking relatively fine, so they told me to go home, “Go back and see your GP”, and my poor Mum was like, “I have, you don’t understand, you don’t know how much blood she’s losing”.’

However, when Ms Benn was finally diagnosed with Crohn’s, it became very clear the serious impact it would potentially have on her life.

‘I was told I would never have a family of my own, I’d probably never do lots of travelling, I’d probably never have a great career, I’d probably always be dependent on my parents,’ she said.

Read on: Crohn’s and colitis: The invisible diseases

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