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A Message on Loving Someone with Crohn’s Disease or Colitis

Simple acts of support from a partner can really help reduce the stress of someone suffering from Crohn’s Disease or Colitis.

If you love someone who is suffering from Crohn’s Disease or Colitis, you may feel helpless at times, wanting to alleviate the physical symptoms of the disease but feeling that you are powerless to do so. Know this though: Your loving presence and unconditional support can make the difference between a really good day and a really bad day for your loved one with Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD). You cannot take the pain away, but you can do a myriad of “little” things that will communicate loudly just how much you care.

Sometimes, your spouse or partner might feel sluggish, exhausted from a night of running to the restroom and interrupted sleep. Simple acts like picking up the slack and doing a few extra chores around the house, or even running to the grocery store for him and allowing him to stay home (where the familiar bathroom is only a few feet away to ease his fears), can relieve a lot of emotional and physical pressure. Small sacrifices, for example, forgoing eating a greasy but delicious-looking hamburger in front of him and choosing to eat a healthier meal with him instead, display that you have compassion for what he is going through. Human beings thrive on feeling understood; show him that you understand his struggle and that you are in the fight with him.

A little empathy goes a long way. If you were in pain or experiencing frustration, you would want someone to confide in, right? The same goes for someone suffering with IBD. Having Crohn’s Disease or Colitis can make you feel like a wet blanket, always having to run to the restroom and interrupt the meal or a trip to the mall or day at the beach. IBD can make simple activities that are supposed to be fun extremely stressful for its sufferers. If you make a big deal of it, your loved one might feel guilty or disappointed. Instead, be patient with the situation. Always remember that the interruptions are not your partner’s fault; rather, the disease is what is interrupting your day together.

There will be seasons when your partner feels on top of the world; the IBD is in remission, and she can eat again! Enjoy these wonderful moments, and rejoice with her when she feels happy or excited. Encourage her to keep a positive outlook on life at all times, and make sure not to reject her on hard days when she feels down. Your role in her emotional health, and, yes, even physical health, is critical, and she definitely does not take it for granted.

© 2013 GI North Gastroenterology Services. All rights reserved.

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