New Crohn’s and Colitis UK study offers fatigue breakthrough

18 June 2014

As part of a 4 year research project into the causes and symptoms of chronic fatigue for the estimated 260,000 people living with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), medical research and patient support charity Crohn’s and Colitis UK - with the support from Big Lottery - is addressing the ‘most over-reported and under-managed’ problem for people living with these debilitating medical conditions – fatigue. 

From today, people with Crohn’s and Colitis will be able to measure the severity and impact of their fatigue objectively using the newly researched and validated IBD Fatigue Scale which is available on www.fatigueinIBD.co.uk

This new development is the product of the charity’s successful scientific partnership with researchers at King’s College London, University College London and the Addenbrookes’ NHS Trust.

Welcoming the launch of the Fatigue Rating Scale, Professor Christine Norton, of King’s College London, and principal investigator for the Fatigue project said:

Until now, patients with severe IBD Fatigue have struggled to overcome this debilitating, invisible symptom. We know that three quarters of people experience fatigue during a disease flare-up, but we also know that 40-48% of patients in remission continue to suffer badly with fatigue.

The IBD Fatigue Scale will allow patients to discuss this under-recognised symptom with their healthcare professionals bringing them together to address and improve the treatment of this serious symptom. We hope that the new IBD Fatigue Scale will become fully integrated as standard good practice in all UK hospitals.

For the 10,000 newly diagnosed young people with Crohn’s and Colitis every year, fatigue is a deeply debilitating symptom and Crohn’s and Colitis UK is delighted to welcome the support of Sam Faiers. Sam is helping the charity to fight IBD fatigue by improving awareness of this ‘hidden symptom’.

The exhaustion I experienced was horrible, life limiting and a typically untreated symptom for people with Crohn’s or Colitis. This new Fatigue Scale is a break-through and will make talking to my doctors much, much easier. This really is great news for everyone with IBD.

Sam Faiers

Helen Terry, Director of Patient Support and Information at Crohn’s and Colitis UK, sums up:

Some doctors and nurses are unaware of how much fatigue can affect people with IBD and many do not ask about it during an appointment. We are asking everyone with IBD to make sure that they have told their healthcare professionals about this under recognised symptom and suggest that they use this IBD Fatigue Scale to enable them to formally discuss their fatigue with their medical teams. We hope that the Fatigue Scale will greatly improve the quality of discussions between patients and their doctors.