Tag Archives: IBD

Women’s Health Week: Colon cancer isn’t just for men

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From May 14 – 20, the Office on Women’s Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, works to raise awareness around and provide recommendations for women’s health.

The mission of this initiative is to “Provide national leadership and coordination to improve the health of women and girls through policy, education, and model programs.”

Although there are several issues that primarily affect women – cervical, ovarian and breast cancers, mammograms, osteoporosis – women also face risks with digestive issues. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Colon Cancer are just a few of the health concerns of which Women’s Health Week works to increase awareness.

And while the risk for colon cancer is slightly lower in women than in men, almost 5% of women will face a diagnosis this year alone. However, those risks have been decreasing steadily over the past several decades, due almost exclusively to advanced screening capabilities and treatment options.

But we’re not out of the woods just yet: Colon cancer is still the third leading cause of cancer deaths in women in the United States.

“The old message was that colon cancer was a man’s disease. We have to be careful not to regress in our message to women.” says Sidney J. Winawer, MD, of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, to MedPage Today.

So what can women do? Two words: Get screened.

Advancements in technology, research and treatment are only good if we actively opt to utilize them. Most medical professionals recommend that women start their regular colonoscopies at age 50. However, if you have a family history of the disease, or other potential factors such as obesity, smoking and certain ethnicities, your doctor may recommend an earlier start.

For more information on women’s health issues, and National Women’s Health Week in general, WomensHealth.gov. There, you’ll find out how you can get involved, and a comprehensive list of topics that affect women’s health, with information and additional resources for each.

Call to book your colonoscopy today. And remember, screening saves!

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March Madness for Colon Cancer Awareness

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The staff of Troy Gastroenterology, Center for Digestive Health, showing their support for Colon Cancer Awareness Month by dressing in blue on March 3.

Every March, the Colon Cancer Alliance celebrates Colon Cancer Awareness month, to push for more support, research and recognition of the struggle the disease incurs.

We lose more than 50,000 Americans every year to colon cancer, with more and more young people turning up with the disease.

“Colon cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death in men and women combined in the United States,” says the CCA.

The good news is, with early screening, detection and even prevention is possible. Most cases of colon cancer appear in folks over the age of 50, which is why the current recommendation for colonoscopy is also age 50. Even then, people with a first-degree relative (parent or sibling) are far more likely to develop the cancer than others. For those folks, your doctor might recommend starting your colonoscopy routine even earlier.

How can you help?

Get involved with Colon Cancer Awareness by making a donation. The Salah Foundation matched donations in 2016 to generate more than a quarter million dollars in extra revenue for research.

If you’d rather participate, the CCA hosts the Undy Run/Walk all over the country to raise funds and awareness.

The Never 2 Young campaign is also doing its best to raise awareness about the decreasing age of colon cancer’s victims.

“As the leading national colon cancer patient advocacy organization, we’re dedicated to bringing together the brightest minds to increase screening rates and survivorship,” says N2Y.

This month, show your support for fighters, survivors and family members of folks with colon cancer. Wear blue, join a local event, and donate money. Every little bit counts to get us to a stage of early detection and prevention.

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The real struggles of three IBDers

On a normal day, car trouble or a busy grocery store are minor inconveniences. When you add Crohn’s or Colitis to your schedule, your normal day can turn into a bad dream in no time.

To raise awareness of this struggle and show how strong these survivors are, we wanted to share three encouraging stories as we look forward to the bright future of IBDers.

 

Amber Lopez Pelton, Crohn’s SurvivorImage may contain: 2 people, people sitting and indoor

I’m still wearing purple to raise awareness for IBD💜💜💜 I thought someone fixed the brake lights a while ago, but some nice man honked his horn& told me they were out still out. Being in a bad flare, I had an extra change of clothes& took the girls with me& changed& cleaned myself the best I could while I got the truck serviced. It was very embarrassing but The Automotive place treated us very well& gave us a good price& understood. They got to see a little bit of a taste of what us IBDrs go thru on a daily basis, behind closed doors. It can cause depression as well. It’s an autoimmune disease!! So please, take us seriously, many have passed from this& it can b hereditary.

Let’s fight for a cure everyone!! 

Oh& it can turn into Cancer without proper treatment. So let’s raise awareness& fight for a cure💜💜💜Stay strong my IBD Warriors!!

 

Nicole Lynn Cochran, Ostomy SporterImage may contain: 2 people, people smiling, text

I am 28 years old and have suffered from severe ulcerative colitis since I was 19. For years I hid my illness and was embarrassed to talk about the painful and debilitating symptoms associated with inflammatory bowel disease.

I had gone through over 30 medications including biologics, high dose steroids and even forms of chemotherapy with no relief. My colon was killing me. Three weeks ago I went under the knife to remove my diseased colon. I have two more surgeries to go to create my jpouch and to reverse my ileostomy.

I wear a bag and I am not embarrassed, and I have no reason to be.

This bag is giving me LIFE and I intend to take full advantage of that.

I have come a long way from the 19 year old girl that was afraid to talk about her illness. I have an ostomy and I am proud of it!

 

Image may contain: one or more people and plantAmber Schieber, Lifetime IBD Warrior

I’ve had Crohns Colitis and IBD since I’m 9 years old, I’m 20 now, my disease is so sever it has moved into my lungs and has caused respiratory diseases. ” Just breathe” is written in my parents handwriting, symbolic to, deep breath, everything is going to be okay, one step at a time.

Everything does get better, don’t give up, fight like a girl.

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Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness 2016

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#IBDVisible 2016

This week, we celebrate Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness with the goal of making IBD more visible and less isolating for folks who live with it.

The tricky thing about Crohn’s, Colitis, and other forms of IBD, is that oftentimes, people who struggle with the digestive disorders seem ok on the outside. However, the symptoms take their toll internally, causing all sorts of fatigue, loss of appetite, cramping, and frequent bowel movements that can make it difficult to carry on with a normal day but aren’t always visible to folks on the outside.

This awareness week is meant to recognize folks who struggle with various forms of IBD, their caregivers and families, the healthcare professionals who provide care, and the researchers dedicated to finding more advanced treatments and eventually a cure.

The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America has several ways you can get involved or simply raise your awareness about IBD. There are chapters across the country that you can connect with through Facebook to keep up with local fundraising events. Have a look at Michigan’s to see what’s going on in your area. Then, you can read the stories of folks who live with a form of IBD, learn about donating or participating in an event, then read about recent research and the advances the medical community has made.

Beyond that, sharing articles, memes, infographics and even your personal story on social media can help raise awareness about IBD and the struggles these heroes face.

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Three inspiring stories from IBD fighters

Every day across the country, more than one a half million people live with some form of irritable bowel disease. The struggles of these folks can vary immensely, with the goal of most to find some normality within the disorder.

Recently, we’ve come across a handful of really incredible and inspiring stories, so we thought we’d share a few with you.

Tony, a Crohn’s patient from Pennsylvania

For me, Crohn’s is one piece of a very complicated medical package – I also live with epilepsy, Celiac disease, and a rare, systemic genetic connective tissue disorder called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, and I struggle daily with depression. Suffice it to say, I manage A LOT when it comes to my health and overall well-being.

There’s something about living with a disease like Crohn’s that has altered my entire perception of myself and my place in the world. When I was diagnosed, I stared death in the eyes. Crohn’s, forever complicated by my entire medical mash-up, nearly killed me. It ravaged my body before more treatments were developed. At the time, infliximab was the only biologic therapy on the market, and after a 13 year run with it, it was no longer helping me. Surgery was necessary and as a not yet out of the closet gay man, I feared I would never live an authentic life. I feared I would die before I could ever tell another man that I thought he was cute.

There is absolutely nothing easy or carefree about living with Crohn’s. It’s painful. I’m 33 and I still have accidents. I am on a very strict medication regimen, and there is not a decision I made that Crohn’s, and my health in general, does not directly influence. There are no days off for me or the other 1.6 million Americans living with IBD. This disease is harrowing, but I have managed and found joy in life and, after all of it, I wouldn’t change anything.

I’m often asked why I wouldn’t change life with something so debilitating as Crohn’s disease. And, for me, Crohn’s has caused issues with my skin, kidneys, joints, and, as new research suggests, probably doesn’t help my depression. It’s because living with Crohn’s has taught me so much about my own will to survive and my abilities to rise up against all odds.

I’m strong. I’m resilient. I’m capable. I do not know if I would be the strong, witty, and humble person I am today without this disease.

Via CCFA – Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America

 

Tyler, an IBD fighter, member of NCCL

My IBD is something I have constantly tried to keep on the “back burner,” to not focus on it and live my life without any limitations. For years this worked just fine until recently, when complications arose just days before the start of the fall semester.After undergoing several tests and surgery, I was faced with the difficult decision of whether I could return to school for the semester or to take off. 

My body and my mind started on opposing sides, as my mind was set on returning to school but my body was not ready to do so. After much contemplation, they came around to agree on a simultaneous decision to take the semester off. Despite it not being the decision I hoped for, placing my health as a priority was the best decision I’ve made in a long time.

After all, if we don’t have our health, what do we have?

I think this is an important point that is easily overlooked in the younger generation. We are on the timeline of school, a career, the future, etc. that our health can easily be left on the “back burner” when it shouldn’t be. Everything going on in life can wait. Take the time for your health when needed. Regardless of what IBD puts on hold in your life, you will always bounce back and one up the disease.

Via CCFA Campus Connection

 

Lauren Zirfas, a Crohn’s patient from KansasLauren Zirfas

I was a healthy, happy child until the age of four.  I loved to ride my bike, swim, sing, but most of all I loved to dance.  Then things changed.  I was constantly tired, had severe anxiety, always complained of a tummy ache, my skin was very pale with huge, dark circles under my eyes, I used the bathroom A LOT, and I had quit growing.  During the next few years I had every blood test possible, yet nothing showed up.

When I started school, I was so tired that I could barely make it through the day.  I would come home and go straight to my room to take a nap.  My mom and dad woke me up to go to dance class, eat supper, or wherever we had to be. Once, I fell asleep at the table in my plate, like a baby does; and another time, I fell down the stairs because I was so exhausted.  I couldn’t keep up with my brother, Conner, or my friends at the swimming pool.  After 30 minutes at the pool, I would ask my mom if we could go home.  I even asked my parents if I could quit dance class because I just couldn’t stand two hours of dancing after a whole day at school, and dance was my life!  My mom and dad were very worried because a normal kid doesn’t act like that.  I am the youngest of five, so they should know.

Finally in March of 2015, I was referred to Dr. Hattar.  She had me limit the amount of dairy products that I ate each day and took away cow’s milk, but my symptoms didn’t go away.  On May 4,2015, I had an endoscopy and a colonoscopy so Dr. Hattar could look inside of me.  That was the day I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease, just two weeks after I turned eight years old.

I began receiving the Remicade Infusion ten days later on May 14, 2015; and have been receiving them every six to eight weeks since.  My family has had to make a few changes at home since I was diagnosed with Crohn’s, but it hasn’t been too bad. Now I am able to keep up with my brother and my friends. In the past year, I tried out for Ballet Wichita’s The Nutcracker and danced as a mouse, cheered for my brother’s football team, played basketball and softball, and enjoyed my true love of dancing by training/going to class every week and dancing whenever my feet hit the floor.  I am now growing like a normal, nine year old kid should, thanks to Dr. Hattar.

One day, I hope there is a cure for Crohns Disease so that kids like me don’t have to go to the doctor for an infusion.  That is why I am walking for a cure and I am happy to share my story with everyone.

Via Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America – Minnesota/Dakotas Chapter

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Announcement! New Facebook page for Research Department

Our Research Department now has its own Facebook page!

Our Research Department now has its own Facebook page!

We’re excited to announce the launch of our Research Department’s very own Facebook page!

The goal of our Research Department is to conduct clinical trials for folks struggling with digestive disorders such as Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis. For many patients who haven’t had much success with other courses of treatment, these trials can be a great way to explore other options.

Anyone interested in participating will have to qualify. If you do, you’ll have access to more than 75 years of research experience with high-quality care in a professional and comfortable environment.

To stay up-to-date with our latest trials, like our Facebook page, or contact us at (248) 267-8485.

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Are you #IBDAware?

IBD includes Crohn's and Ulcerative Colitis.Inflammatory Bowl Disease is inflammation of your digestive tract. The two main conditions of IBD are Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis.

This week, the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America is hosting an awareness week, asking, “Are you #IBDAware?” It’s estimated that nearly 700,000 Americans are affected by both Crohn’s and Colitis. That’s almost 1.5 million people dealing with these chronic conditions. However, everyone’s experiences and symptoms can be different, and most of them are manageable with a combination of treatments.

The difference

Crohn’s and Ulceritive Colitis have similar symptoms but affect different areas of the gastrointestinal tract. “Crohn’s most commonly affects the end of the small bowel and the beginning of the colon,” says the CCFA, “but it may affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract, from the mouth to the anus.” Ulcerative colitis mainly affects the colon or large intestine.

Diet’s role in care management

Most IBD conditions can be attributed to genetics, but diet can also contribute to well-being. “While your diet is not a cause of your disease and changing your diet will not cure you,” says CCFA, “paying special attention to your diet can help reduce and control your IBD symptoms.” They go on to recommend keeping a food journal to track what you eat. Then when you have a flare up, you can see if there’s any correlation to your diet.

CCFA in Southeast Michigan

The CCFA offers support groups for folks living with IBD. The Michigan Chapter is in Farmington Hills. A combination of paid and volunteer staff work to bring you information and advice while organizing events throughout the community. The Chapter Medical Advisory Committee (CMAC) is comprised of doctors from the area who are dedicated to offering support and furthering awareness about IBD.

In June 2016, there are several “Take Steps” walks, including in Royal Oak and Grand Rapids. The Michigan Chapter also organizes Camp Oasis, a summer camp for children with IBD.

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Crohn’s Disease fact sheet

It’s estimated that some 700,000 people in the U.S. suffer from Crohn’s Disease. A type of inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s causes inflammation of the gut which can lead to some serious symptoms.

Crohn's Disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease suffered by millions.

Crohn’s disease is a mysterious yet manageable digestive disorder.

Dr. Wael Refai, board-certified MD in internal medicine, gastroenterology and transplant hepatology at Troy Gastroenterology, sat down with us to discuss some of the facts of this mysterious disorder.

Causes

“The cause of the disease is unknown,” says Dr. Refai. “But there are some genetic predispositions, and exposure to certain environmental factors may trigger the immune system.”

The biggest environmental factor is smoking. Crohn’s disease is “about twice as common in smokers than nonsmokers,” says Dr. Refai.

Crohn’s is just as common in women and men, and the age for development is surprisingly young. “Crohn’s is more prevalent among adolescents and young adults between the ages of 15 and 35,” says the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America.

Symptoms and treatment

Diarrhea is the most common symptom, but another one that’s often reported is a feeling of needing to go without being able to. And since “Crohn’s attacks the last part of the small intestine,” says Dr. Refai, “the most common location of pain is the right lower side of the abdomen.”

Other symptoms include weight loss, lethargy, decreased appetite, mouth ulcers and anal fissures. If you’re experiencing bloody stool, you may become anemic as well.

The course of treatment depends on a number of factors. The severity of the symptoms, the site of the affected area or other secondary problems will influence the treatment your doctor decides. Frequently, doctors recommend a steroid treatment, antibiotics or dietary changes. Rarely, surgery is necessary.

Other things to consider

“If Crohn’s Disease is affecting your large intestine,” says Dr. Refai, “you’re at a slightly increased risk for developing cancer.” Patients with large intestine Crohn’s should take preventive measures such as colonoscopies to preemptively intervene with cancer. The earlier any complications from Crohn’s are caught, the less likely that you’ll develop cancer.

Additionally, not every course of treatment will work for every patient. Following your doctor’s recommend course of treatment is the best way “to increase your chance of remaining free from flare-ups,” suggests Dr. Refai.

But a word of warning: “Diligence may not work all the time. There is a balance between the benefits of the medications and the possible side effects for some patients.”

Beyond the medical implications of Crohn’s, it’s important to remember that if you suffer from the disease, you are not alone. There are several celebrities who struggle with the disease, and CCFA offers support groups to help you cope.

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