Brandi: Dr. Szigethy, I love exercise and having been a professional athlete and just now using exercise as a way for me to elicit happiness, to combat stressful moments, you know, or if I'm upset about something. Can you speak on that, about how exercise can be a part of our daily or our life plan?
Dr. Szigethy: Absolutely. Exercise is a great stress management tool. It is important, though, that you first work with your gastroenterologist and make sure that you are doing the right kind of exercise for your disease. It's also important that if you have active IBD, that sometimes you have to pace yourself and so exercise might not always be the best option – again, checking with your treatment team.
In terms of managing the stress of IBD, I think so much of the stress of the disease is not feeling in control. And what I like to tell patients is that it's helpful to think about the situation, whether it's related to your IBD or life, and dividing it up into parts that you can control, and parts that you cannot control. For the parts that you can control, activities in general that help get your mind off of it are really helpful. So those can be doing a favorite activity, a hobby. It can be listening to relaxation tape. It can be using your imagination and thinking about a time that made you happy or made you laugh. Just doing that and interrupting the stress cycle in that way can really help to reset your whole mood and help you cope better.
Brandi: You're totally speaking my language because you're talking about things that I feel like I've practiced my whole life. Right now I, I see myself, I have a game plan. I'm ... I love travel, I travel for work, I travel for pleasure. Now having Jayden's diagnosis a year ago, now all of a sudden I've had to change my game plan because I have to do all this preparation, you know, pregame planning. I need to know where we'll be. Where's the nearest restroom? You know, how can I get him to it if he needs it?
Dr. Szigethy: You know, you mention bathroom access, which is a huge stress for many patients. So we often talk to our patients about if it's a new place, know your route, know where the bathrooms are.
Brandi: Dr. Szigethy, why is the Restroom Request Card such a wonderful tool for those who are living with inflammatory bowel disease?
Dr. Szigethy: The Restroom Request Card is such a great tool because it gives you the option to have access to restricted restrooms when you have unanticipated symptoms.
Having a game plan is important. Consider registering for the Restroom Request Card on this website so you know you have the option to have access to restricted restrooms when symptoms arise.