Hattie Gladwell | Contributing Writer | Saturday, 15 August 2015

10 Things Not To Say To Someone With IBD

10 Things Not To Say To Someone With Crohn's Disease Or Colitis

The Debrief: 'My sisters boyfriends cousin’s friend has that, they’re cured now.' Gah

Crohn’s and Colitis are two of the most serious forms of Irritable Bowel Disease, often referred to as 'IBD'. Crohn's disease is a long-term condition that causes inflammation of the lining of the digestive system. Inflammation can affect any part of the digestive system, from the mouth to the rectum, but most commonly occurs in the small or large intestine. Colitis is a long-term condition, where the colon/large intestine and rectum become inflamed. Both forms of IBD produce similar symptoms, including fatigue, abdominal pain, diarrhoea or chronic constipation, weightless and blood in stools. Each case of IBD has no cure, and can result in an ostomy bag (stoma). 

Some people may be able to relate to these symptoms, and may suggest it’s 'not that bad'. But for people with IBD, these symptoms are more than the odd stomach bug. Think having the most severe case of gastroenteritis on a regular basis, alongside a cramping stomach and over tired body, regardless of how much sleep you’ve had the previous night.

If you are unfortunate enough to have Crohn's or Colitis, there is 100% chance you would have been told something that just makes you want to pull your hair out. A tip, false information, a miracle cure, you name it. If you're fortunate enough not to have either case of IBD, it's important that you maintain a little knowledge of the disease, as over 300,000 people in the UK are affected. It's also important that you help make life a little easier for these people by avoiding making assumptions or giving out false information. So, with that being said, here’s a few things to avoid saying to somebody who lives with Crohn’s or Colitis...  

1. Isn’t it just like a sickness bug?

If you count a sickness bug as an incurable life time of medication, vomiting, diarrhoea, fatigue, weight loss, and achey as heck joints, then yes! It so IS a sickness bug! Duh!

2. You’ve really put on some weight...

Well it was either get more sick or suck it up on steroids. I’m getting used to my hamster cheeks. 

3. My sisters boyfriends cousin’s friend has that, they’re cured now

There is no cure for either case of IBD. But if that’s true, you should probably let the doctors know they should quit their jobs…  

4. Have you tried this new product? It has amazing results and cures IBD

Why did my doctor give me ostomy surgery? Why didn’t he just give me aloe vera?! Fun fact: Even after ostomy surgery you are still prone/may have IBD. If intense surgery isn’t curing it, I’m not so sure I trust your aloe vera concept… 

5. 'I have IBS though, it’s not that bad.'

Please do some research and rethink what you just said.

6. I’m so jealous, you can eat what you want and stay skinny

Yeah, I love spending most of the day on the toilet not being able to leave my bathroom. My frequent trips to the hospital. It’s all so worth it to stay skinny. I’m so lucky.

7. You shouldn’t be using the disabled toilets

Just because you can’t see a “disability”, doesn’t mean it’s not there.

8. You don’t look sick

Sorry did I need a sign on my head, or? 

9. But you haven’t done anything… why are you so tired?!

Fatigue is one of the most debilitating symptoms of IBD. It’s not just being “tired”. 

10. 'This may have caused it…'

We have enough (literal) shit going on without being made to feel guilty about it. There are no studies that suggest anything can cause IBD. We are just extremely unlucky. (But of course still lucky we’re so skinny)

You might also be interested in:

11 Things You Only Know When You Have An Ostomy In Your 20s

Women In Their Early 20s Are More Likely To Suffer From IBS Than Any Other Group. So Why Is Toilet Chat Still So Taboo?

Are Beta Blockers Becoming The 20-Something Anxiety Crutch?

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Tags: Health