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A Rumble in Your Tummy: Crohn's and Ulcerative Colitis

A Rumble in Your Tummy

A seminar for sufferers of two painful gastrointestinal diseases is being held to highlight two common conditions people prefer to avoid discussing. The Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) seminar is being organised by Andrew McCombie, working with Crohn's and Colitis New Zealand.

Leading New Zealand, and Canterbury based, gastroenterologist Professor Richard Gearry, says the term IBD covers two similar but separate diseases - Crohn's and ulcerative colitis - both of which have no cure. "There are a lot of people with these diseases and it's unfortunate that the symptoms - diarrhoea and abdominal pain - are things that people don't often talk about."

Professor Gearry currently works with people affected by Crohn's and colitis at Christchurch Hospital and the Christchurch Medical School, where he leads a research team. He said there are hundreds more who may not aware their problems had a name and could be treated. "The people with IBD, most of them feel very isolated. They don't know that there are a lot of other people out there suffering from the same thing. This seminar is for them as well."

Professor Gearry said there is excellent help available to manage the diseases.

People affected by Crohn's and colitis have had little support since the devastating earthquakes, but the Canterbury Support group is now keen to bring people affected by these diseases together for the first time at this meeting, which is also to inform the community about the disease and how it is managed.

Speaking at the seminar alongside Professor Gearry will be registered nurse Rhondda Brown, an IBD nurse. "One of the great things here in Christchurch is we take really good care of our patients with IBD, and we work really hard at it. The people we follow have really good access to us."

American rock band Pearl Jam’s lead guitarist, Mike McCready, suffers from Crohn's disease. In 2009 he lobbied for emergency access to businesses' private toilet facilities for sufferers of Crohn's and related disorders. As a result a system was developed whereby sufferers carrying a special card could not be refused access to the toilets. A similar card has been developed in New Zealand -- the ‘I Can’t Wait’ card, but without the legal recognition.

When: 2.00pm Sunday 15th April
Where: Templin Hall, Canterbury Horticultural Centre, 56 Riccarton Ave, Christchurch



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