Living with Crohn's Disease

Crohn's disease (also known as regional enteritis) is a type of inflammatory bowel disease that may affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract, causing a wide variety of symptoms. It primarily causes abdominal pain, diarrhoea (which may be bloody if inflammation is at its worst), vomiting (can be continuous), or weight loss, but may also cause complications outside the gastrointestinal tract such as skin rashes, arthritis, and inflammation of the eye, tiredness, and lack of concentration.

I interviewed a 16 year old male who has been living with the disease, to get the insiders view on life with Crohn's disease.

When were you diagnosed with Crohn's?
I was diagnosed with Crohn's towards the end of Year 8, right before we broke up for our summer holidays.

What happened after you were diagnosed?
After I was diagnosed, there were two possible options to try and control the issue, as there is no definite cure for the disease. One of the options was a form of steroids, which would have taken certain side effects, and the other option was to drink a formula called Modulen IBD. I decided to go with this option as my doctor recommended it and it was a more natural alternative. I had to drink 2 litres of it every day, for around 6-8 weeks. I wasn't allowed to eat any form of food or drink, apart from Fox's Glacier mints and 7Up, as they are natural and wouldn't interfere with my intestines and digestion.

What's it like living with Crohn's disease?
It's not too bad to be perfectly honest, apart from at first when I wasn't diagnosed and it was making me increasingly ill. Although, ever since I was diagnosed it has been fairly easy to control, and makes my life pretty much normal.

What can/can't you eat?
I can't eat anything dairy or with eggs in at all, or else it would set off the effects of the problem, and make me ill.

Are there any side effects from the restrictions in your diet?
As I can't eat dairy, it's hard for me to obtain any form of calcium in my diet, so as a supplement to that I'm prescribed calcium tablets.

Conclusions: As unpleasant as Crohn's disease can be, for a lot of sufferers it is easily manageable, even though there is no 'cure.'  This interview shows that sufferers can lead a full, uninhibited life, and don't have to spend all their time in and out of hospital.

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