A new survey by a leading patient charity has revealed more than 2,600 people in Cornwall are living with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).
Of these sufferers, more than 1,000 are young people and 50 per cent feel "let down by their teachers through lack of knowledge about their conditions, the symptons and the impact upon their education," a spokesperson for Crohn's and Colitis UK said.
"Incredibly, 17 per cent of pupils are still not allowed unlimited access to toilets, despite their condition’s symptoms including relentless diarrhoea," the spokesperson added.
The "Me and IBD" survey also revealed that 90 per cent of teenagers and young adults with IBD feel they aren't receiving proper careers advice, making them fearful for their future.
Semi-professional rugby player Rhys, aged 20, lives in Redruth and was diagnosed with IBD just last year.
He lost three stone in three weeks because of his condition and has struggled with university work and his beloved rugby.
Thankfully he is now working with one of the country's top sports nutritionists to alter his diet for the better.
David Barker, the chief executive of Crohn’s and Colitis UK said: “The implications for teaching staff are clear, they need to improve their recognition of these serious diseases and make more reasonable adjustments for their pupils with these ‘hidden impairments’.
"Increased communications with the parents and ideally the pupil, unlimited access to toilets, time off for hospital appointments and sending work assignments home for pupils recovering from surgery or a disease flare, would all be a great start."
With the rising incidence of IBD in children and teenagers, "every school is now likely to have pupils with IBD and improved communications must be a priority,” Mr Barker added