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Coping With IBD

Learning you have Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis may be difficult and stressful. As time goes on, this will not always occupy the top spot in your mind. In the meantime, try not to hide your condition from people in your life. Discuss it with them and help them understand what kind of support you need.

You’ll learn that there are numerous strategies that can make living with IBD easier.

Coping techniques for dealing with these diseases may take many forms. For example, unexpected bathroom trips or abdominal pain may make people fearful of being in public places. But that isn’t necessary. All it takes is some practical advanced planning.

Steps to include in your daily plans:

  • Find out where the restrooms are in restaurants, shopping areas, theaters, and on public transportation.
  • Carry extra underclothing, toilet paper, or moist wipes when traveling as needed.
  • When venturing farther away or for longer periods of time, speak with your doctor first. Travel plans should include a long-term supply of your medication, its generic name in case you run out or lose it, and the names of doctors in the area you will be visiting.

Try to go about your daily life as normally as possible, pursuing activities as you did before your diagnosis. There is no reason for you to sit out on things that you have always enjoyed or have dreamed of doing one day.

  • Learn coping strategies from others. Your local CCFA chapter offers support groups as well as informational meetings. It helps to share what you know with others too.
  • Join CCFA’s free online community to get the support you need through participation in discussion boards, personal stories, and much more.
  • Young adults with IBD have their very own web site where they can connect with others and find specialized information on coping in school/work, and other helpful tips.
  • Develop a support network of family and friends to help you manage your disease.
  • Follow your doctor’s instructions about taking medication (even when you are feeling perfectly well).
  • Bring a family member or friend to your doctor’s appointment for support.
  • Maintain a positive outlook. That’s the basic — and best — prescription!

While Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are serious chronic diseases, neither is a fatal illness. There’s no doubt that living with either illness is challenging — you have to take medication and, occasionally, make other adjustments. It’s important to remember that most people with IBD are able to lead rich and productive lives.

Remember, too, that taking maintenance medication can significantly decrease flare-ups. In between disease flares, most people are free of symptoms and feel well.