“There’s power in sharing”
* This article has been sponsored and developed in association with Pfizer©*
We’re constantly told it’s good to talk. But whether it’s a reluctance to vocalise a difficult subject or even embarrassment, this isn’t always as easy as it sounds.
So, it’s not difficult to be inspired by Olympic swimmer Siobhan-Marie O’Connor, who was not only the youngest swimmer representing Team GB at the 2012 Olympics before winning silver four years later in the 200m Individual Medley at Rio 2016, but also manages to talk about her experience with Ulcerative Colitis (UC). So there is no one better to spearhead the Now UC Me campaign, which both raises awareness and encourages people living with UC to open up and talk about the condition.
UC is a chronic and often debilitating inflammatory disease of the bowel; symptoms can impact people’s lives both physically and mentally. The condition cannot be outwardly seen, but has a huge influence on the quality of everyday life, with symptoms including diarrhoea, abdominal discomfort, rectal bleeding, nausea, vomiting, weight loss, fatigue and urgent bowel movements.1-4
What’s more, patients often feel embarrassed to speak up about having these symptoms. While UC might be life-altering, it doesn’t mean patients have to abandon their life goals. Just look at Siobhan.
“I was only just coming in to my swimming career and starting to believe in myself. I didn’t want UC to knock me backwards,” says the 23-year-old. “There are days where it creeps up on you and you feel tired, drained and don’t want to go out.”
Siobhan urges those affected to talk. Sharing and getting things off your chest can have a profound effect on one’s sense of wellbeing.
Siobhan, the Pride of Bath, adds: “Because it’s invisible, people don’t know what’s really going on. There’s real power in being able to share what you’re experiencing. When I hear other people talking about UC, it gives me the strength to then tell other people about it and say what’s really going on.”
To find out more, visit nowucme.co.uk
IT’S TIME TO TALK
The stats inspiring the Now UC Me campaign 5
A survey conducted by Pfizer UK comparing patient and physician perspectives on communication about and management of Ulcerative Colitis, offers a glimpse into the impact of this chronic disease:
- 3 in 5 patients feel like UC controls their life
- 83% of adults agree that UC is mentally exhausting
- Nearly 2 in 3 (63%) patients reported missing social events
- More than half of patients surveyed feel like they would be more successful if they did not have UC
- 21% have experienced an impact on their family, including avoiding/ending relationships
The Now UC Me disease awareness campaign is developed and funded by Pfizer© PP-PFE-GBR-2058 OCTOBER 2019
1. Mowat C, Cole A, Windsor A, et al. Guidelines for the management of inflammatory bowel disease in adults. Gut 2011; 60:571-607.
2. Irvine EJ. Quality of Life of Patients with Ulcerative Colitis: Past, Present, and Future. Inflammatory Bowel Diseases. 2008;14(4):554-563.
3. Adams SM, Bornemann PH Am Fam Physician. 2013 May 15;87(10):699-705.
4. Hanauer SB. Inflammatory bowel disease. N Engl J Med. 1996;334(13):841-8.
5. Pfizer data on file. April 2018. (REF-GIP2859)