December 1, 2014 5:54 PM

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December 1 marks the start of Crohn's and Colitis Awareness Week, an important week within the inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) community to bring attention to Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis (UC), two debilitating digestive diseases that cause crippling abdominal pain, persistent diarrhea, rectal bleeding, and weight loss.

More than 1.4 million Americans live with these diseases, yet most people are unfamiliar with them, thinking that IBD and irritable bowel syndrome are synonymous, or downplaying the symptoms.

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