My name is Hannah and I am 22 years old and was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis when I was 13 years old.

Symptoms included bloody and mucus stools, urgency and uncontrollable trips to the toilet or severe constipation, tiredness and fatigue, abdominal cramping and bloating and headaches.

Unfortunately my mum also suffers with UC but this meant that I had a clearer idea of what it may be and therefore, was able to get help pretty quick but still went through numerous hospital trips and colonoscopies!

I also had severe iron deficiency so got a iron drip - walking up the stairs would make me exhausted and I would have to sit down at the top of the stairs to have a break. 

Since being diagnosed, I have gone on many courses of medication including Steroid enemas, Mezalazine enemas, Pentasa and Movicol.

I found it very embarrassing and the flare ups got much worse in my first year of University but I didn't want anyone to know so I kept it hidden.

I have only started to speak about it much more openly recently and finding out about others who have it has really helped me to not feel alone with the disease. 

The disease has taught me just how important my health is, but also I wanted to learn more about it and help others so it sparked my passion for nutrition.

I have recently completed a Masters in Nutrition at Oxford Brookes University, as well as a Psychology degree at Loughborough University, alongside symptoms and treatment. 

I am running the London marathon in April 2020 and although I am so nervous and anxious, I am excited to raise more awareness for Crohn's & Colitis as it is so close to my heart.

It is so important that we speak about it more because it does affect so many people and it is invisible so although they have a smiley face on the outside, you never know what someone is experiencing on the inside!

Hannah shares facts and information relating to her Ulcerative Colitis on her Instagram page @livewellwithhan 

Hannah kindly shared her story with Bowel & Cancer Research to help us raise awareness during #CrohnsandColitisAwarenessWeek