Patients with inflammatory bowel disease, such as Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis, know how challenging it can be to live with such diseases, although in some cases it may not show on the outside. A lot of people look healthy on the “outside”, but may be struggling all day with fatigue, pain, and discomfort. Here is a list of things NOT to say to people with IBD:
1. “You don’t look sick”
This is troublesome since, like many other chronic illnesses, IBD is sometimes called the “invisible illness” because you can look healthy on the outside. People don’t realise that it might have taken a lot of effort just to get out of bed, into the shower, and to get dressed. All things which are undertaken quite casually and easily by healthy people.
2. “You have gained weight!”
That’s probably true. Taking steroids has some side effects. They alter your body and make you gain weight more quickly. They also are likely to cause insomnia and to grow extra hair, besides all the weight-gaining, of course.
3. “You have lost so much weight!”
Oh, that’s just the opposite of number 2! Actually, sometimes IBD patients don’t just gain weight, but they also lose a lot of weight due to severe diarrhea, where they can’t absorb any nutrients. This weight loss makes IDB patients feel nauseous and feeble because their body is exhausted and unable to absorb enough nutrients to power through the day.
4. “Why are you so tired? You just woke up!”
Fatigue is a huge deal with IBD patients, the medications leave them drained, coupled with the fact that sometimes patients can lose a lot of blood. This creates a mixture of exhaustion and feebleness which leaves patients extremely tired. A side effect of the fatigue in patients is the feeling of guilt. Comments like these only make things worse for patients who already put an extreme amount of effort trying to have a normal day.
5. You seemed OK last week!
Despite the illness, IBD patients still want to try and live as normal a life as possible. Sometimes patients feel better and put the extra effort to try and have a normal day, like going out, or to the movies, or to a bar. It’s often very hard for people to hear others saying it’s a fake illness, or that it’s “just for show” because they have no idea how hard it can be.
IBD News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.