IBD and Relationships (Repost)


In the spirit of World IBD Month and my busy schedule, I have been reposting my old posts.  Today, I will be reposting my post about relationships.  Keep in mind that I am a guy so this is from a man’s view.  I know women have their own thoughts which may vary. 

I have seen a lot of questions and discussions about this topic.  Crohn’s Disease is such a private and sometimes gross disease.  Many people ask “When in a relationship should I tell my partner that I have Crohn’s?”  On top of this, I hear “How do I tell my partner I don’t feel sexy/want to have sex?”  For women, in my opinion, this is easier to deal with than men.

First let’s tackle the first question.  A lot of people feel ashamed about having IBD.  Whether it is Colitis or Crohn’s, a lot of people don’t want to talk about it for feel that people will look at them differently.  When it comes to dating, this is a real big issue.  I know women don’t want a guy to know because they don’t want to disgust them or turn them off.  When you first start dating, for a woman, they want to feel and look sexy.  But what about a guy’s view?  What does it say to a women when a guy has to go to the bathroom 5 times during a date.  The first thought might be, “He’s doing drugs”.  Another thought is, “Maybe he doesn’t like me and is calling another woman”.   Truth is guys have the same thoughts and feelings as women.  We want to look good also.  We want to feel strong in a woman’s presence.  Most guys want to be able to take control and treat a woman right.  We can’t do that if we are in pain or running to the bathroom.  We can’t do it if we are constantly feeling sick.

So I say, as far as telling that new person, tell them right away.  It is a lot to deal with, but a lot of times IBD will run our love life so let them get used to it.  I wouldn’t tell them when I first meet the person, but talk to them on the first date.  Let them know that if you have to run to the bathroom..it isn’t their fault.  Let the other person know you want to be there to talk to them but you have to leave for a brief moment.  If you’re a guy and your want to look strong, then telling the truth is being strong.  Opening up to a woman is being strong.  Honesty is the best policy.  It will help strengthen the relationship.

Now, if the other person gets scared at this and runs..well then it really wasn’t meant to be.  You should know if the other person can handle your disease right away.  Now I don’t think you have to tell your whole life story with the disease on the first date.  Just let your partner know what they can expect.  You can go into details another time.

Now, later on in the relationship (or marriage) IBD and sex will come up.  There will be times you won’t want to have sex because of the symptoms.  Again…be open and honest.  If you’re having sex, then you should be in a place in the relationship where your partner knows your disease and can understand it a little.  Let your partner know it isn’t their fault that you don’t want to have sex.  For a guy this is rough since we are made to look like sex addicts…like we want sex 24/7/365.  Truth is, there are plenty of times we don’t want to have sex.  There are times our arse hurts and is sore.  We might be sick to our stomach.  We might have joint pains.  None of this is going to make us want sex.  And these symptoms can last for days and weeks.  That is why I say be open and honest with your partner.  If you aren’t having sex for weeks, and you don’t talk about, your partner may wonder what is wrong.  They may feel like you aren’t attracted to them anymore or worse…is having an affair.  Let your know partner know it isn’t them.

So, overall..be open and honest.  Don’t be ashamed of your disease.  You are going to have it the rest of your life.  Let your partner into your life and let them know that they are in the relationship with both you and your disease.  I have found that overall, if the person can’t handle it…they aren’t worth being with anyways.

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The Health Activist’s Writers Month Challenge – Day 9 Caregiving


Patients, what advice or tips do you have for caregivers out there – professional or otherwise!

This is a good topic.  It is so good that it is a repeat of one I did last year.  So, I will pretty much repeat what I said in that post.  Also, keep in mind that I am focusing on caregiving to someone with IBD.

First, and this is one of the most important things a caregiver needs to remember, is that the person they are taking care of has the disease, not the caregiver.  The patient is most likely scared because they have an incurable illness.  What they need most of all is love, affection and some sympathy.  They are probably in constant pain and they might not ever feel “normal” again.  It is your job to help them get back to normal as best as THEY can.

Second, listen to your patient.  Don’t ever assume you know what they are going through or what they are feeling.  If they say they have pain, believe them.  Sometimes they may seem alright, but mos of the time there is pain within their gut.  Think about how you feel when you have a sunburn.  Well, Crohn’s is like a sunburn on the inside of the intestines and it is constantly being touched.

Next, don’t try to force feed them.  An appetite is a tricky thing for someone with IBD.  One day they can be nauseous and not want to eat.  Other days, they will want to pig out.  Some of this is caused by the disease, some of it caused by the meds.  Also, they are going to find that there are a bunch of foods that don’t agree with them.  If they want to try a specific diet, let them.  If they say they can’t eat a certain food….believe them.  Don’t try to make them eat something because it is healthy.  Not everything healthy is good for someone with IBD.

Your patient is not going to like the medications that they are on.  If they are taking Prednisone, there is a good chance that they will get some depression.  You should know right now, they will gain weight.  Their face will swell up and this is called a “Moon Face”.  Just let them know that it is normal, they are still beautiful and handsome, and that it is temporary.  One day they will come off the steroid and their weight will come down.  Now, sometimes if they are in a flare, they might lose weight.  Try to give them some supplemental foods like Ensure to help maintain their weight.  Don’t ever mention how skinny  they look.  They know they are losing weight and don’t want to be reminded of it.

My last advice I can give is never ever ever say they are sick.  They have a chronic illness that will be with them their whole life.  They know how they feel and they want to try to look and act normal.  To them, it is something that is now part of their life.  To them, being sick is like catching a cold or a flu.  Having IBD doesn’t mean your life ends…so why should they think they are sick.  Treat them as you would treat anyone else.  Play with them.  Talk with them.  Give them hugs and kisses.  Let them know that their life will move along and that they have nothing to be ashamed of.

And if ever you have a question, don’t be afraid to ask.  Ask a doctor.  Ask the person you are giving care to.  You can ask me.  There is also a huge community or people with their condition online.  Turn on your computer and look for them.  They will accept you and your patient into their family with no questions asked.

You are now about to embark on a great journey.  Enjoy the ride.

Post 18 #NHBPM – Write about your advice for someone caring for a patient with your condition


 

Dear Sir/Madam:

This letter is to inform you that you are now caring for a patient with Crohn’s Disease.  There are a bunch of things you should know about the disease and how it will affect your life.

First, remember that the person you are taking care of has the disease, not you.  Right now they are probably scared because they have a uncurable chronic illness.  What they need most is love, affection and some sympathy.  They are in constant pain and will probably never feel “normal” again.  It is your job to help them get back to normal as best as THEY can.

Second, listen to them.  Don’t ever assume you know what they are going through or what they feel.  If they say they have pain, believe them.  Sometimes they may seem alright, but most times there is a pain within their gut.  Think about how you feel when you have a sunburn.  Well, Crohn’s is like a sunburn on the inside of the intestines and it is constantly being touched.  Ah, I see the lightbulb go on above your head…you have an idea now on what they are feeling like.

Next, don’t try to force feed them.  An appetite is a tricky thing for someone with Crohn’s.  One day they can be nauseous and not want to eat.  Other days, they will want to pig out.  Also, they are going to find that there are a bunch of foods that don’t agree with them.  If they want to try a specific diet, let them.  If they say they can’t eat a certain food…believe them.  Don’t try to make them eat something because it is healthy.  Not everything healthy is good for someone with Crohn’s.

Your patient is not going to like the medicines that they are on.  If they are taking Prednisone, they are going to get depressed.  You should know right now, they will gain weight.  Their face will swell up and this is called a “Moon Face”.  Just let them know that it is normal, they are still beautiful or handsome, and that it is temporary.  One day they will come off the steroid and their weight will come down.  Now, sometimes if they are in a constant flare, they may lose weight.  Try to give them some supplemental foods like Ensure to help maintain their weight.  Don’t ever mention how skinny they look.  They know they are losing weight and don’t want to be reminded of it.

My last advice I can give is never ever ever say they are sick.  They have a chronic disease that will be with them all their life.  They know how they feel and they want to try to look and act normal.  To them, it is something that is now part of their life.   To them, being sick is like catching a cold or a flu.  Having Crohn’s doesn’t mean your life ends..so why should they think they are sick.  Treat them as you would treat anyone else.  Play with them.  Talk with them.  Give them hugs and kisses.  Let them know that their life will move along and that they have nothing to be ashamed off.

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter.  I hope it will help you in caring for your new patient.  If you have any questions, feel free to ask me.  There is also a huge community of people with their condition online.  Turn on your computer and look for them.  They will accept you and your patient into their family with no questions asked.  You are now about to embark on a great journey.

sincerely;

Dr. Ira B. Darling

IBD and Relationships


I have seen a lot of questions and discussions about this topic.  Crohn’s Disease is such a private and sometimes gross disease.  Many people ask “When in a relationship should I tell my partner that I have Crohn’s?”  On top of this, I hear “How do I tell my partner I don’t feel sexy/want to have sex?”  For women, in my opinion, this is easier to deal with then men.

First let’s tackle the first question.  A lot of people feel ashamed about having IBD.  Whether it is Colitis or Crohn’s, a lot of people don’t want to talk about it for feel that people will look at them differently.  When it comes to dating, this is a real big issue.  I know women don’t want a guy to know because they don’t want to disgust them or turn them off.  When you first start dating, for a woman, they want to feel and look sexy.  But what about a guys view?  What does it say to a women when a guy has to go to the bathroom 5 times during a date.  The first thought might be, “He’s doing drugs”.  Another thought is, “Maybe he doesn’t like me and is calling another woman”.   Truth is guys have the same thoughts and feelings as women.  We want to look good also.  We want to feel strong in a woman’s presence.  Most guys want to be able to take control and treat a woman right.  We can’t do that if we are in pain or running to the bathroom.  We can’t do it if we are constantly feeling sick.

So I say, as far as telling that new person, tell them right away.  It is a lot to deal with, but a lot of times IBD will run our love life so let them get used to it.  I wouldn’t tell them when I first meet the person, but talk to them on the first date.  Let them know that if you have to run to the bathroom..it isn’t their fault.  Let the other person know you want to be there to talk to them but you have to leave for a brief moment.  If your a guy and your want to look strong, then telling the truth is being strong.  Opening up to a women is being strong.  Honesty is the best policy.  It will help strengthen the relationship.

Now, if the other person gets scared at this and runs..well then it really wasn’t meant to be.  You should know if the other person can handle your disease right away.  Now I don’t think you have to tell your whole life story with the disease on the first date.  Just let your partner know what they can expect.  You can go into details another time.

Now, later on in the relationship (or marriage) IBD and sex will come up.  There will be times you won’t want to have sex because of the symptoms.  Again…be open and honest.  If your having sex, then you should be in a place in the relationship where your partner knows your disease and can understand it a little.  Let your partner know, it isn’t their fault that you don’t want to have sex.  For a guy this is rough since we are made to look like sex addicts…like we want sex 24/7/365.  Truth is, there are plenty of times we don’t want to have sex.  There are times our arse hurts and is sore.  We might be sick to our stomach.  We might have joint pains.  None of this is going to make us want sex.  And these symptoms can last for days and weeks.  That is why I say be open and honest with your partner.  If you aren’t having sex for weeks, and you don’t talk about, your partner may wonder what is wrong.  They may feel like you aren’t attracted to them anymore or worse…is having an affair.  Let your know partner know it isn’t them.

So, overall..be open and honest.  Don’t be ashamed of your disease.  You are going to have it the rest of your life.  Let your partner into your life and let them know that they are in the relationship with both you and your disease.  I have found that overall, if the person can’t handle it…they aren’t worth being with anyways.