We, as IBD patients, tend to focus a lot on the bathroom. We make jokes, post pictures of bathroom humor, and talk about poopin’ a lot!
That is all fine and dandy, I do it too. But, we don’t poop ALL the time! I don’t have a colon so naturally I use the bathroom more than a healthy person who has a colon. When I was in bad flare-ups before I had my colon removed I would go to the bathroom at the most I counted 52 times a day (yikes!). When our bowels are inflamed and ulcerated we go to the bathroom a lot! So naturally everyone thinks that all patients with IBD do nothing but poop. And at times, that’s true. What causes that is the serious and damaging inflammation in the bowel. That inflammation along with the bleeding ulcers makes it difficult for the colon to do it’s job of absorbing liquid and converting human waste into a formed mass, resulting in diarrhea. It also creates urgency - the need to use the bathroom immediately and without warning.
But for some reason it bothers me that IBD is just looked at as a pooping disease. There is SO much more than poop involved in Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. In fact, for some patients diarrhea isn’t even a symptom of their IBD. When you have strictures narrowing your intestine then severe constipation becomes an issue. And when we are not in flare-ups and our disease is mostly being managed by medication we don’t poop all the time.
People without IBD have no knowledge of the complexities of this disease. They are unaware that we deal with other things like; fistulas, strictures, malabsorption, malnourishment, anemia, arthritis, other autoimmune diseases, surgery, skin problems, anal tags, fissures, abscesses, pouchitis, stoma care, cuffitis, blood loss, eye inflammation, skin problems,…my list can go on and on. People without IBD often don’t realize how serious Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis can be. It’s why we need to raise awareness. It’s why I feel like it’s my job to raise awareness.
So that people stop thinking IBD means you have a tummy ache and you poop a lot.