What to Expect with IBD
Your inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) symptoms may: come and go, change over time, or even disappear for a while. They often go away once the inflammation is under control. If symptoms return, it is called a flare.
However, many people find that with proper treatment and lifestyle changes, they can live normal lives.
Treatment is different for everyone, but may include a combination of the following:
Your healthcare provider will recommend regular testing and checkups to monitor your IBD. If you still have symptoms between checkups, you should follow up with your healthcare provider to find out what is causing the symptoms and if your treatment needs to be adjusted or switched.
In addition to regular tests and treatment, you may face some challenges with everyday living. As a result, you may have to change your routines or make special arrangements at school. However, being prepared and finding support can help you manage your IBD.
Some tips for helping you cope with IBD include:
- Carry an emergency kit. This might include toilet paper, wet wipes, powder, hand sanitizer, small can of air freshener, disposable gloves (to handle any soiled clothes), large-sized freezer bags (for soiled clothes), clean underwear, clean shorts, pants, or leggings (anything that you can wear until you get home). Even if you never need to use these supplies, just knowing they are there in case of an emergency may free your mind and lower your stress level.
- Your IBD symptoms may be more active at certain times of the day. For example, you may find that you need to stay close to a bathroom after getting up in the morning, or in the evening after eating. Knowing when your symptoms are likely to occur can help you to organize your daily routines.
- Before you leave home, plan your day in advance and learn where the bathrooms are located in restaurants, shopping areas, and on public transportation. Knowing where the bathrooms are can ease anxiety and reduce stress.
- When going away for long periods of time, speak with your doctor first. Travel plans should include a long-term supply of your medication, its generic name in case you run out or lose it, and the names of doctors in the area you will be visiting.
- See what accommodations can be made at school.
- Be sure a trusted friend, school nurse or teacher is aware of your issues and can be called upon for help in case of a difficult or embarrassing situation.
- Create a support network of people who can be called upon to help out during difficult times. These people should understand the serious nature of your disease and be ready to help you.
There will be times of difficulty and times of relief, but with good medical care and healthy coping skills, you can make the most of your situation. Living with a chronic disease is a path in life, not an event. Your goal now is to learn about the disease and to create a way of life that works for you.