Inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis, often cause problems outside of the restroom for many of their warriors. To continue the “Beyond the Bathroom” series, we will examine weight loss and weight gain, related issues like vomiting and loss of appetite, and IBD symptoms related to hair, vision and cognition.
When inflammation takes over, sometimes the last thing a Crohn’s or colitis patient wants is to eat food. Fearful of inflicting pain upon one’s self, a patient will avoid meals, knowing how it will affect the body (and bowel). As a result, patients tend to lose weight, suffer malnutrition, and experience bouts of diarrhea, constipation, or both. Warriors may lose weight due to lack of eating, or an inability to keep food down, and experience nausea and vomiting symptoms, too.
When this inflammation occurs your doctor can prescribe steroids. Prednisone is the go-to corticosteroid medication that may help patients find relief. However, it also may cause weight gain and other problems with prolonged use. Patients may develop “moon face,” bloating with meals, and flares. Sometimes unhealthy foods are best, as a “healthy” choice of salad could cause a blockage or obstruction.
When Crohn’s and colitis patients have flare-ups or side effects, they can cause extraintestinal problems such as hair loss, mouth sores, blurred vision, inflamed eyes, as well as sleep and cognition difficulties.
Crohn’s disease affects many aspects of patients’ lives through these symptoms. Sleep can be hard to come by, and lack of rest or nutrients (mixed with isolation) can cause a decline in comprehension and response. Some patients stay at home, and avoid going out in public due to fear of an accident.
I even had a hard time finding the motivation to go outside. Having had accidents that scared and traumatized me, I wanted to be at home with my personal bathroom. However, not leaving the house or interacting with others can truly affect your response time. It also can impact your communication methods, and it can add anxiety to future interactions in public.
For me, certain medications have enhanced certain symptoms, and I continue to find new problems to add to my shopping list of issues. Like a domino effect, one symptom or problem can lead to another, which can possibly lead to a reaction from something else. Sometimes patients must add medications that create more problems, and so forth.
The list of “what-if” symptoms are endless. With any diagnosis, each person has individual and unique symptoms. Some people experience more problems than others, and just because one person has a symptom does not mean all IBD warriors will have it. There is no cure-all.
Thank you for reading the “Beyond the Bathroom” series. I look forward to writing my next series, so stay tuned.
My experiences with Crohn’s may be different than yours. But you can never be too prepared for what could happen with Crohn’s or colitis. For me, It Could Be Worse.