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Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are the two main forms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). Both are chronic lifelong conditions that cause inflammation of the digestive system; ulcerative colitis only affects the large intestine whereas Crohn’s disease affects the whole of the digestive system. In the UK, it is estimated that at least 115,000 people have Crohn’s disease[1] and around 146,000 have a diagnosis of ulcerative colitis.[2] Inflammatory bowel disease can be painful, disrupt normal activities and reduce quality of life, particularly during periods of active disease. The exact causes of Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis are unclear, but there is evidence that IBD can cluster in families and having an affected family member is a risk factor.

Many people with IBD have periods of wellness (remissions) with periods of active disease (flare ups). The outlook is highly variable, with some people with IBD remaining mostly in remission whereas others can have regular and severe flare ups.

Prior to the Westminster Hall debate Parliament’s Digital Outreach Service asked 3 questions on the Crohn’s and Colitis UK Facebook page (the responses can be found in the links below each question):

  • Question 1: What’s your experience of how your local NHS services meet the needs of people with Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis?

  • Question 2: In your experience, what are the biggest challenges faced by people living with Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis?

  • Question 3: If you could do ONE THING to improve the quality of life for people with Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis, what would it be?

[1]     Crohn’s disease NICE guideline CG152, 2012

[2]     Ulcerative colitis NICE guideline CG166, 2013

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