Sunday, 1 May 2011

You Crohnly Live Once

There are many common misconceptions about Crohn's Disease.
As it is known (within the Crohn's community anyway) that flare-up's can be brought on by stress, many people think it's just a case of 'have a few deep breaths, calm down and you'll be fine', or, 'use a bit of willpower and you'll be fine'. Now the more perceptive of you may have noticed that 100% of those two (unhelpful) examples of advice end in 'you'll be fine'.
It's vaguely understandable, as most people don't want to think of others, in particular those they care for, being ill. Especially when the problem is something not easily fixable. I was brought up in a household where the sympathy window was limited and it was generally followed with 'you have a headache? Take a painkiller. Better? good. now never speak of this again'.
Don't get me wrong, my parents are wonderful and I adore them. However they tend to favour the idea of a 'quick fix' and it took me a long time to bring them round to the fact that there is no fix, quick or otherwise, for what I have.
Lets face it, generally not many people in our society are keen to discuss digestive health, and probably more so than others in my family home. I've had to learn to accept my illness and become more open in talking about things that i've been brought up to believe I should be cringing at the thought of. I'd still say i'm not entirely comfortable in discussing, the more, shall we say, intimate details of Crohn's but the more knowledgeable I am about my own body the more confident I will become in talking to others about my disease.
Another common misconception about Crohn's, is that finding out what foods cause the pain and simply cutting them out of your diet will mean you guessed it.. Fine. The truth is, certain foods affect people in different ways and they can only give the symptoms, they don't cause the disease in the first place. So it's probably more sensible to try to eat regularly and not in huge doses.
As very little is known about the disease, it's difficult (and done at your own risk) researching it. Health websites occasionally contain nuggets of useful information, but are generally like multiple choice quizzes where every answer is Cancer. My advice is radical but I hope you will get on board with it...TALK TO A DOCTOR. Or at the very least a fellow Crohn's sufferer who can provide you with constructive accounts rather than scaremongering.
Now i'm off to take a few deep breaths, throw all my food out and calm down. I'll be fine.


  1. Hi Kath, A great blog! I really like this post as I get frustrated about people misunderstanding how serious Crohn's is. I avoid certain foods because they are painful to digest during a flare up, and they can cause me blockages, but I know that is just symptomatic / practical. I wonder if one of the issues is that people think that crohn's is an IBS condition rather than an IBD condition. Looking forward to reading more of your posts.

  2. Thank-you for your lovely comments! Very helpful to hear from other people as I am still fairly new to Crohns, still getting used to it myself! It is very frustrating - especially since people tend to forget this is a life-long illness. Hope you are keeping well :)