NEW YORK, Jan. 8 (UPI) -- Known collectively as inflammatory bowel diseases, Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis affect about 1-in-200 people, U.S. experts say.
The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America announced an awareness campaign to raise awareness about these painful, medically incurable chronic illnesses diseases that attack the digestive system.
Richard Geswell, president of the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America, said symptoms might include abdominal pain, persistent diarrhea, bleeding, fever, severe fatigue and weight loss. Many patients require numerous hospitalizations and surgery. The fastest growing patient population is children age 18 and under.
The campaign features actress Amy Brenneman, best known for her roles in the television shows "NYPD Blue," "Judging Amy" and "Private Practice," who suffered from ulcerative colitis for many years.
The campaign shows the feet of everyday people where they spend far too much time -- in bathroom stalls.
"By putting 'the bathroom issue' front and center, we want to engage people, raise awareness, and demonstrate our commitment and compassion," Geswell said in a statement. "The entire Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America organization is committed to battling this serious condition on multiple fronts."
As a former sufferer of the condition, Brenneman said she was looking for a way to support the foundation.
"I hope my involvement can help spark a dialogue and support," Brenneman said. "Someone you know -- family, friends, co-workers, neighbors -- is struggling with inflammatory bowel diseases right now. And he or she deserves our help. It's time we stood up to this condition."