Woman Shares Her Story On Crohn’s And Colitis Awareness Week
As Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Week runs through Dec. 7, a Scottish woman is sharing her story in the hopes of helping others not feel alone.
Both Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis is an incurable inflammatory bowel disease. Symptoms can include severe abdominal pain, swollen joints, significant weight loss and extreme fatigue. Although some people can manage their condition with steroid medications, others will require surgeries that can often be extremely invasive.
Annie Scott was just 18 years old when she was diagnosed with colitis. She initially chalked her stomach symptoms to the stress of moving away from home and to a university, but went to a doctor and was referred for a colonoscopy after she began passing blood when using the bathroom.
But while colitis is often viewed as a condition that older people suffer with, one in four people who are diagnosed with it is under the age of 16.
“I was so upset and I felt like such a different person,” said Scott, now 26, to Scottish channel STV. “It’s not just a physical thing, it’s mental. I got diagnosed with stress, anxiety and depression.”
Scott also struggled with colitis being an invisible illness. She found it difficult to explain to friends that she wasn’t feeling well when she appeared perfectly fine at surface level.
The Edinburgh native also expressed concern that her condition might ruin her relationship with her fiancé, but he quickly brushed those fears aside. The couple were wed last May.
“I just felt like I had been given an illness he hadn’t signed up for,” explained Scott. “You just feel so unsexy. There’s a taboo around your bowels and it’s not comfortable for some people to talk about it.”
But Scott is making it a point to do just that. She supports a local charity that helps others living with inflammatory bowel disease and is always willing to share her story in order to remove the social stigma around the condition.
“It’s a constant battle. Every day is different, but you have to fight through it. It shouldn’t define you. It should just be part of you,” said Scott. “It just makes you more special because it means on top of everything else, you’re a fighter too.”