Brandi: Dr. Szigethy, I have a young son who has been diagnosed with Crohn's in 2015 and there’s a lot of questions for me. I have a story I'd like to share with you about my son. Prediagnosis of his Crohn's disease, where he was having a hard time getting to the restroom, or not allowed to go to the restroom, and having accidents. And he really taught me something about – this is a matter-of-fact thing for him, that there may be a time when he has a moment that's uncomfortable. And then when he was diagnosed with Crohn's disease, I realized that this is very unexpected. Can you give me some tips or recommendations for those who are living with IBD, in these social environments, so that they can avoid a potential situation that they find uncomfortable?
Dr. Szigethy: Absolutely. So first it's important to remember that IBD is an inflammatory condition, so having a gastroenterologist, working with them to develop a treatment plan is critical. In terms of the situations, I think it's so important to have a game plan. So, having an idea, first of all, of where the bathrooms are, and making sure that you take all the steps you have to stay in control. It's also important, I think, to be in a situation where you know that others have gone through similar kinds of experiences. This is where organizations like the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation offer support groups, offer access to others, and it's amazing what you can learn, and really be and feel empowered from hearing that others with IBD have dealt with that or a similar situation, and have successfully navigated it. And so, you have this chronic condition, it can be challenging at times, but it's not what defines who you are.
Brandi: You know, I've learned something from my son, too, in this situation, where he said, "Mom, this is just a fact. This happened to me because I have inflammatory bowel disease, I have Crohn's disease. You know, it just happened. And so I'm not allowing it to get in the way of the things that I like to do, and I'll take care of it if it happens."
Dr. Szigethy: You know, and that's a great attitude, and there are other resources or things that you could do as part of that game plan. For instance, for those that are in school or a work situation, really letting key members of the team, either the educational team, the work team, HR, resource managers, know just enough that you have the disease, and really learning about what are the resources that are available that can help you. So, putting your desk near the door, so you have quick access to the restroom. So, being empowered with that kind of knowledge can really help people with IBD cope with it more effectively.
Having a game plan is important. People living with IBD can explore this website for additional tips and tools.