Chemo Isn’t Just For Cancer!

For day 4 of the Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Week this blog is about medications used to treat IBD. These include Chemotherapy drugs which many think is only associated with Cancer. I am here to tell you that just simply isn’t true.

So the main reason IBD patients are put onto medication is to reduce inflammation in the bowel and to maintain remission and prevent future flares. Many people go through many medications when one does not work.


Steroids are used to reduce inflammation by lowering the immune system, stopping the immune system attacking healthy tissues. Some of the other medicines that are long term, are also know as Immunosuppressants, which work by lowering the immune system in order to stop the immune system attacking your bowel – resulting in reducing inflammation. The negative side to this is that due to your immune system being lowered, you are susceptible to infections and may need antibiotics to treat them from time to time, everyone is affected differently. Many people have no infections at all where others get many. The same goes for the actual treatment used too, where it will work for some patients but not another. It is important that before you start a treatment that you read the side affects or ask your consultant what they are, so that you know what to expect and if this is normal or not.

Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis is just but few of the many conditions where chemotherapy is used. Most invisible illnesses sufferers deal with the issues along side chemotherapy such as hospital admissions, hair loss, weight loss, extreme sickness, extreme tiredness and so much more.

Even though in terms of most illnesses where we receive the form of chemotherapy that is a different dosage that what is used in treating cancer, however we too suffer the nasty side affects. We can only have but a slight bit of experience what many have to go through on strong doses and have so much empathy and respect for other chronically ill people with invisible illnesses. If you suffer from the side affects of a treatment for your IBD or any illness whilst on chemotherapy drugs, this is a shout out to all who suffer from any illness going through the treatments and similar issues! It can be a really difficult time full of questions.

For any treatment(s) information, CCUK’s free information leaflets on medication is here.

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