Real Talk About Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis in the Black community

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The Black community faces numerous health risks that can impact everyday life. However, there is one group of conditions in which the incidence is increasing in the Black community but is not being regularly talked about: inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

On this episode of Listen to Black Women, created in partnership with Janssen Biotech, Inc., co-hosts Shamika Sanders, Chris Miss and Taryn Finley welcome special guest Dr. Diana Whitehead, Director of the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center at GBMC HealthCare (Baltimore, MD).

Together, they discuss how IBD impacts the Black community and what can be done to increase awareness and open dialogue in order to be empowered to find the needed resources.

Crohn’s disease vs. ulcerative colitis

So, what are the differences between these conditions? Ulcerative colitis only affects the colon, whereas Crohn’s disease can affect any area of the gastrointestinal tract from the mouth to the anus, including the stomach, large bowel and rectum.

Symptoms for both can include abdominal cramps and pain, rectal bleeding and weight loss. However, weight loss is particularly common for Crohn’s disease, says Dr. Whitehead.

There are also additional symptoms Dr. Whitehead looks for, such as eye redness or pain, oral ulcers, rashes on the skin and joint pain.

Be empowered to speak up

Young woman in pain

Source: Rockaa / Getty

One reason this episode is so critical is that it aims to normalize conversations around IBD. Now, with IBD on the rise in Black communities, getting comfortable talking about it is the first step to raising awareness.

From there, individuals can identify what symptoms to report to a healthcare provider or how to better support a family member, coworker or friend who may be living with IBD.

Understand the facts about IBD, empower yourself with knowledge, know the symptoms and speak to your doctor about what treatment is best for you.

This episode of Listen to Black Women was created in partnership with Janssen Biotech, Inc.

© Janssen Biotech, Inc. 2023 03/23 cp-367342v1

To hear more about managing relationships with IBD, check out our Listen to Black Women episode “Pillow Talk Relationships: How to navigate complex and uncomfortable conversations.”