Being in a wedding party is a difficult time when you’re diagnosed young with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). While it is an honor to be asked to participate, for me, it came with the challenges of being fitted for a dress while living with severe ulcerative colitis.
When I was in my early 20s, like many women, I was a frequent bridesmaid. In some cases, this meant being fitted for a dress that was picked out by the bride. All the women in the wedding party would order the same dress, in the proper size, and have it altered, if necessary.
Does having IBD make you feel like a princess? Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are not only painful, serious conditions, but they also carry stigma which leads to patients feeling isolated. Sophia Vicari, the founder of The Princess Promise, is creating a community that challenges the perception society has about digestive disease. Diagnosed with ulcerative colitis while in college, it didn’t take long before Sophia decided she needed to work to help others in the IBD community become more comfortable talking about poop. Hear Sophia’s disease journey, what it was like for her to be Miss Camden County, NJ, while living with ulcerative colitis, and how she plans to help women with IBD find their inner princess.
Living with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis may have a significant affect on intimate relationships. The reasons for this are as individual as we are but can include pain, fatigue, medication side effects, and problems with body image. Kait Scalisi, an NYC-based sex educator who founded Passion by Kait, has devoted her professional life to helping women and couples learn to reconnect with themselves and their partner in order to enhance intimacy and reconnect with pleasure. Kait lives with Crohn’s disease and ankylosing spondylitis, and therefore has a deep understanding of how chronic conditions can affect intimate relationships (both with oneself and with a partner). Hear Kait’s Crohn’s disease journey and learn how she helps people find their way back to enjoying their spark, both in the bedroom and outside of it.
People who live with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis experience stigma because of their inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The taboo topic of bowel disease can permeate all aspects of a person’s life, especially when there are cultural influences also at play. Tina Aswani Omprakash, who lives with Crohn’s disease and a permanent ileostomy, shares her story of personal empowerment and how she is working to help other people with IBD live their lives with confidence. Tina describes how IBD has profoundly affected her family as well as why she decided to become an outspoken advocate for the IBD and ostomy communities and start her blog, Own Your Crohn’s.
A diagnosis of IBD can take away the thing that you feel defines you as a person. This is how it felt for Megan Starshak of The Great Bowel Movement, who describes how her ulcerative colitis diagnosis at age 18 stole her passion for running. The process of losing and then regaining her identity as a runner fueled her desire to help people live well with a diagnosis of IBD. Her foundation seeks to educate those outside the IBD community through the use of a simple conversation prompt: Ask Me About My IBD. Continue reading →
Dating can be challenging for anyone at any stage in life, but having IBD and/or other chronic conditions adds another level of difficulty that can be disconcerting. Angela Cohen was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease after her intestine perforated. Her long-term relationship ended not long after and she was thrust into the dating world. What she discovered while going on more than a few “first dates” was illuminating not only about how IBD and other autoimmune conditions are perceived by potential partners but also about herself and what she wants to get out of dating, as well as her life goals. Continue reading →
Many people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) will admit to having a body image issue. Theresearch shows that people with IBD who have a healthy self-image are in the minority. After all, how could we not have issues with our bodies? Our bodies fail us without warning, not to mention the symptoms of IBD which are often distressing and personally upsetting to oneself and to others.
It’s funny, now as an “over 40,” I think back on the days when I was younger and I have to laugh at my skewed sense of self. The facts that support my internal monologue on body image will surely upset those who were closest to me when I was a child and a teen. We didn’t have the vocabulary to discuss things like body image in the 70s and 80s and there wasn’t anyone who told me the things I tell my daughter, that her body is strong and beautiful and that we will do our best to take care of it.
Getting married is a joyful time in one’s life. Until you have to bring your IBD along when you shop for your wedding dress, that is. Learn how Crohn’s disease affected Jaime’s perceptions about body image throughout her life and how it all culminated in a trip to a bridal shop that left her angry and frustrated. Plus, we share our best tips for making the dress shopping, and eventual wedding day dress wearing, go more smoothly if IBD decides to make make an appearance.
Did you know that more than 70% of people with IBD have reported bathroom accidents (fecal incontinence)? Did you also know that only around 20% ask for help from their physicians? It’s a sensitive topic, to be sure, which is why I offer advice on how to cope with this problem and how to avoid it in the first place. If you’re struggling with this issue I have tips that you can use today but the best advice is to talk to your doctor about it (and I discuss that also!).