A woman has revealed that it took 10 years for her to be diagnosed with Crohn’s disease after she was initially told that she had irritable bowel syndrome.
In the end, after she complained of stomach cramps, diarrhoea, and finding blood in her stools, she was finally told that she had Crohn’s.
Alanah, who lives in Inverness, said that she would go through entire weeks without going to the toilet before having days where she would barely leave, going around 40 times each day.
It sounds horrible, and it left her needing to plan out toilet routes whenever she would leave the house.
She said: “I had always had issues with my stomach as a child aged about seven or eight, but we put it down to irritable bowel syndrome or allergies.
“I’d never heard of Crohn’s so didn’t connect the symptoms to the condition.
“Fast forward 15 years and my symptoms started again, for me this was going weeks without going to the toilet to then weeks where I would go anything up to 40 times a day all accompanied with severe stomach cramps, blood loss and hair loss.
“It became so bad that I would literally not leave the house unless I was able to plan out exact toilet stops along the way.
“When I was finally diagnosed, I was just glad to know what it was.
“But I wish I’d been diagnosed earlier even a couple of years earlier, when things started to get really quite bad.
“It would have helped so much mentally knowing that there actually was something wrong with me, rather than it being IBS.
“No one ever wants to talk about poo but it's a big part of my life so I embrace it now.”
So, if you feel like you might be in a similar situation, you can go check out whether you have symptoms of Crohn’s or other inflammatory bowel conditions by using a symptom checker set up by charity Crohn’s & Colitis UK.
It takes about 30 seconds, but gives a complete list of results and a note recommending further tests that you can show your GP.
If Alanah had found out earlier, her life could have been easier for years.
She said: “I'm doing really great at the moment though and hopeful it'll continue for years to come.
“When talking to a GP about your symptoms it can be very overwhelming, and difficult to get across a full picture of what’s happening to you.
“A check list backed by Crohn’s & Colitis UK to take into the appointment would give you the confidence that you’ll be taken seriously, and be given the right diagnosis as soon as possible.”
Crohn’s & Colitis UK CEO Sarah Sleet said: “Delays can be devastating, affecting people’s ability to do their jobs, go to school or college, socialise or have relationships.
“The earlier people can get diagnosed, the earlier they can be treated and the better they will do, so we’d urge everyone to use the checker as soon as symptoms appear.
“So, get checked if you have diarrhoea, stomach pain or see blood in your poo, even if you don’t have all the symptoms, or their symptoms come and go every few weeks or months.”
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