From the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) have had many questions. Now that vaccines against the virus are becoming available, people living with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis need even more information in order to make decisions. I asked Dr David Rubin, Chief of the Section of Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Nutrition and the Co-Director of the Digestive Diseases Center at The University of Chicago Medicine to answer some of these initial questions about the first COVID-19 vaccines (manufactured by Pfizer and Moderna). Topics discussed on this episode include:
How vaccines work
How mRNA works
How IBD medications affect the immune system
IBD medications and their potential effect on COVID-19 vaccination
When we’ll have more information about COVID-19 vaccines and IBD
Why side effects with vaccines are expected and what they mean
Back to school will be quite different for families across the United States and the world this year. There aren’t many answers to be had to our questions, yet we must make decisions with the best information that we have at this time. I speak with Dr Brad Jerson, a Pediatric Psychologist in the Division of Digestive Diseases, Hepatology, and Nutrition at Connecticut Children’s and an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine about how we can prepare our kids, and ourselves, for the school year. We discuss the behaviors we can model for our children, how we can talk to young kids about mask wearing, and how to engage kids of all ages in conversation about their fears and anxieties during this time.
Taking care of one’s teeth is important to anyone, but it is especially vital for people who live with an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). We often say that Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and indeterminate colitis affect the whole person. The mouth is included in this, but we often short change ourselves where oral care is concerned. Mouth ulcers can be common in people with IBD. Cavities and infections of the gum and teeth may be more common in people with IBD. True Crohn’s disease of the mouth is less common, though it does occur. This all means that while most of us have lots of doctor’s appointments already, seeing a dentist is one that we need to keep on our list as well.
All of this is why, when my dentist office opened up, even while cases of COVID-19 were high in my area, I kept my appointment to get my teeth cleaned. A few weeks later, when the pediatric dentist opened up, I took my kids for their appointments. Here’s why I went and what to expect when visiting the dentist in the era of corona.
People who live with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) often have questions about what should and shouldn’t be included in a diet plan. There’s not one single diet for every person with IBD, which presents challenges for patients. Diet is difficult to study because there are so many variables. While more data and research on diet is clearly needed, there are some general guidelines that health care professionals can offer their patients.
One of the presentations I attended at Advances in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (AIBD) in Orlando, Florida in December 2019 was regarding the IBD Parenthood Project. The American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) has put together a clinical care pathway for pregnant women who live with IBD. The pathway was created with input from representatives from different specialties that may care for pregnant women with IBD, including gastroenterologists, maternal-fetal medicine specialists, teratologists, lactation specialists, and patients.
How do you think about your connection with your gastroenterologist? The patient/physician relationship is important in managing inflammatory bowel disease. I talk with Dr. Aline Charabaty, Associate Professor of Medicine, Director of the IBD Center at Johns Hopkins Sibley Memorial Hospital, and winner of the 2019 Healio Gastroenterology Social Media Influencer Award, about how patients and doctors can better understand one another and better communicate about managing your disease. Find out how doctors can help patients in addition to finding the appropriate treatment for them, including what kinds of questions both groups should be asking, and how we can all move beyond “how many bowel movements” to discuss other issues important in Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are diseases of young people. Women are often diagnosed during their childbearing years, which means that inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) enters into the equation when considering becoming pregnant. I talk with Beth Kiernan, a Teratogen Information Specialist at MotherToBaby about how women can learn more about how to manage IBD medications before conception, during pregnancy, and while breastfeeding.
I’ve never before considered contacting a health coach. I’m fortunate to have a robust support network and as an experienced patient, it seemed to me that perhaps a health coach wouldn’t have much to offer me. My mind was changed, however, when I got in contact with Pack Health.
Being diagnosed with ulcerative colitis as a child and undergoing j-pouch surgery in high school hasn’t slowed Sneha Dave down at all. In fact, it spurred her to found two groups that are focused on bringing young people into the patient advocacy space: the Crohn’s and Colitis Young Adults Network (CCYA) and the Health Advocacy Summit (HAS). Learn how Sneha grew the CCYA from its humble start as a newsletter, the opportunities that CCYA and HAS offer to young patients, and her secret to managing a work/life balance.
Living with a permanent ileostomy as a result of Crohn’s disease hasn’t stopped Ryan Stevens from participating in the sport he loves. He worked his way back from crushing IBD flare-ups and multiple surgeries in order to train for the ultimate triathlon: the IRONMAN. In this second part of Ryan’s story, hear what happened to him while on the bike route, why the ostomy may actually provide an advantage, and Amber’s unfiltered thoughts on the competitiveness of the triathlon community.