There is little understanding in the community about Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis and symptoms are often invisible. For the Australians living with Crohn's and colitis it’s a constant and often unseen struggle living with serious gut diseases that impact their personal, social and work lives.
What is Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis?
Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are lifelong gastrointestinal disorders that are collectively known as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
These chronic conditions can cause ulceration and inflammation in the colon (ulcerative colitis) or any part of the digestive system (Crohn's disease). There is no cure for the disease.
The conditions are becoming more prevalent, more severe and more complex and are being diagnosed in more and more young people.
More than 85,000 Australians live with these conditions, with numbers expected to increase to more than 100,000 by 2022.
During a disease flare, inflammation can become so severe that sufferers need to be hospitalised and/or require surgery.
The conditions are largely unpredictable with significant variation in the degree and pattern of symptoms affecting each patient. The relapsing and chronic nature of the disorder has broader impacts on a person’s emotional, physical and social wellbeing. People with Crohn's or colitis may also develop complications that are potentially life threatening.
To find out more visit www.crohnsandcolitis.com.au
What Crohn's & Colitis Australia does
At Crohn’s & Colitis Australia (CCA), we envision a future where no one lives with or suffers from Crohn’s or colitis. In the meantime, CCA aims to support people living with Crohn’s or colitis through research, education, advocacy and support.
We’re driven to raise awareness of Crohn’s and colitis in the community, help people with Crohn’s or colitis get better support and care through education in the health system, and increase our knowledge about treatments and possible causes of Crohn’s and colitis as we build research capacity in the search for a cause or a cure.
Over the past three years the Live Fearless Challenge has been a huge success, with over 15,500 people involved and travelling more than 200,000 kilometres. In the process, they raised over $720,000 to help fund new and ongoing research, education, advocacy and support initiatives.
We’ve built research capacity by providing research scholarships and clinical projects in the field of Crohn’s and colitis. We launched our My IBD Experience Research Report which showcased research findings from a national survey of adults living with Crohn's and colitis.
We’ve delivered free programs and services to enhance community knowledge and understanding of Crohn’s and colitis, including hosting valuable forums in hospitals across the country as well as online livestreams.
Our online portal, the Crohn’s & Colitis Hub, contains information, inspirational stories, ongoing research, and much more.
We’ve advocated for improved quality of IBD care with more effective and affordable treatments, multi-disciplinary team support and other changes to the health system which will improve health services for people living with Crohn's and colitis.
The IBD National Action Plan launched by the Minister for Health in March 2019 highlights key priority areas for further action.
We’ve developed more services and programs to support young people, including a national program of Youth Camps, a Kids Fun Day, and a youth empowerment program (YEP!).
These programs connect children and young adults living with Crohn’s or colitis to others who share their experience and help them tackle key challenges through adolescence.