“Let’s be gutsy and start talking about inflammatory bowel diseases. They affect one out of 140 men and women of all ages, and 10 per cent of cases are diagnosed in children.

Crohn’s and colitis are the most common inflammatory bowel diseases. Crohn’s can develop anywhere in the digestive tract, while colitis affects the lower intestines. Because the cause is not known, Crohn’s and colitis cannot be prevented, but they can be managed with medication and nutritional planning.  

“Albertans living with Crohn’s or colitis often experience chronic abdominal pain, discomfort and urgency, and may need to use a washroom many times a day. Those who live with Crohn’s or colitis for longer than 10 years are also at risk of developing colorectal cancer.

“Living with Crohn’s and colitis can be challenging socially, emotionally and physically. Some people may choose to stay at home rather than suffer the anxiety of planning their life around accessing washrooms. They may also feel uncomfortable talking about their condition with family, friends or colleagues.

“If you or someone in your life is living with inflammatory bowel disease, please reach out to Crohn’s and Colitis Canada. They provide group and individual support, advocacy and awareness for those living with an inflammatory bowel disease so they can get the support they need and live as freely as possible. In addition, they offer the free GoHere washroom locator app, which locates available washrooms across Canada. I encourage Alberta businesses, organizations and municipalities to sign up and support this program. 

“Please join me in recognizing November as Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Month. Together, we can advance awareness, understanding and compassion, and better support Albertans living with these conditions.”