My twenty-something newlywed life was imposed upon with a diagnosis of inflammatory colitis, first appearing as Chron’s Disease, a form of inflammatory bowel disease. Influenced by the doctrine that real “ladies don’t pass gas,” (you know, the F-word), I was a bit reserved about my irritable bowel symptoms. I believed in a level of decorum that happened to clash with my intestine’s motives.
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Discussing symptoms that occur below the waist, such as inflammatory bowel disease, is beyond some individuals’ comfort zone. And now, with the “Butt Bandit” running loose (acquiring stool samples from unwitting celebrities) on Nip/Tuck, I’m not sure that we’ve matured much. The lower GI tract remains just taboo enough to be comical fare.
What I learned: Humor is an asset for inflammatory bowel disease sufferers, to include: one is not evil to fantasize about a virulent strain of stomach flu on the insensitive. Humor aside, inflammatory bowel disease is a serious illness and the diagnostic process a bit unnerving.
The key word to remember about tests for inflammatory bowel disease, such as a colonoscopy, is anesthesia, and sufficient amounts of it.
Having experienced the put-your-intestines-on-camera series twice, I found colon competency varies. My first GI doctor was of male chauvinist bent, and the second appeared to better recall his Hippocratic Oath.
Dr. Oink berated me during the first consult for taking pain medication, nothing heavy, for fibromyalgia, inferring the stomach pain was self-induced. The red siren went ignored. Ultimately, he performed a colonoscopy to rule out inflammatory bowel disease and grossly under-sedated me.
My payback, during biopsy, was to kick him in an area he deemed rather valuable. Too bad I only have a vague recollection of the event.
Versed, one of the sedating agents utilized, is not conducive to good memory. He retorted in my medical records that I had a low pain tolerance. So did he I imagine.
This IBD experience was relayed to GI doctor number two, whom I solicited when colitis symptoms returned. He addressed my tolerance to anesthesia and therefore Dr. Feelgood was spared Taebo action. Under Versed influence, however, I did say some embarrassing things.
What I learned: On the first visit, determine if the doctor’s philosophy and approach for diagnosis and treatment of inflammatory bowel disease is compatible. Also, if your doctor gives you a strange look in recovery, it’s not likely fatal illness, you probably gave up a juicy true confession.
Frankly, most people do not wish to hear the details of illness and especially undesirables like diarrhea and constipation. While frank talk is admirable, too much information may damper romance and lighter hearted relationships.
Consequently, synonyms or analogies may prove helpful when referring to inflammatory bowel disease and colitis related symptoms. A traffic sign makes a decent analogy. “It’s a red day,” could mean constipation or that you’re not feeling well enough for intimacy. A green light day is just the opposite.
Whichever jargon is used to relay inflammatory bowel disease symptoms, the goal is to communicate the bottom-line, as it relates to you and your loved ones. Otherwise, if your relationship thrives on in-depth discussions of bodily functions that works too.
What I learned: Don’t suffer with inflammatory bowel disease symptoms in silence. Consider the comfort level of your audience for best results. Take advantage of a dedicated inflammatory bowel disease support group, if needed.
Perhaps not for the expected reasons, a fan is useful to help inflammatory bowel disease patients…relax.
Patients may be concerned about others overhearing eventful bathroom trips or moans of inflammatory bowel disease pain. If a patient is tense, the discomfort may increase. Sound may also be used as focal point, or diversion, to better cope with colitis cramps and pain. Most any noise maker will work and meditation is even better.
What I learned: Pain and colonic symptoms are not shameful, but are preferably given on a need-to-know basis. Times occur when less conspicuous inflammatory bowel disease symptoms are desired.
Aside from pain, one of the worst things about colitis and inflammatory bowel disease is obtaining an accurate diagnosis. For women this is particularly true. Namely because common gynecological disorders can present with similar symptoms as both inflammatory bowel disease or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Endometriosis is a prime example whereas the pain is mistaken for inflammatory bowel disease or vice-versa. Some less fortunate patients suffer both.
What I learned: Pain is a warning sign and frequently an unclear one. Utilize a symptom diary, if necessary. Women with lower abdominal and/or pelvic pain may do well to solicit the help of a gynecologist in conjunction with a gastroenterologist.
Closing Words on Inflammatory Bowel DiseaseUnlike many patients who suffer from inflammatory bowel disease, my colitis was cured (it was not Chron’s) when the causative agent was discovered. Albeit, I have no difficulty recalling the practical difficulties of both irritable bowel syndrome and colitis.
IBD issues are plentiful: from medication to complications, as well as life-threatening aspects of inflammatory bowel disease. Stay informed and listen to your gut, as they say. And, solicit best doctor referrals from experienced patients or organizations dedicated to inflammatory bowel disease or colitis issues.
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