Crohn's and Colitis: A Real Disease

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Looking back, I’m not sure how seriously I took the words ulcerative colitis, nor did I have any idea what kind of implications these words would have on my life. I understood that I had a disease, and I was not in denial, but I always figured that I would be able to handle whatever came along. I assumed that no matter how sick I became, as long as I took medication, everything would be fine and I would remain moderately healthy.

Maybe I had deluded myself, because I had read somewhere that no one can die of ulcerative colitis. Technically speaking, people do not actually die of asthma, they die of asphyxiation. So, it may be true that you cannot actually die of ulcerative colitis, but you can die from malnutrition, toxic mega colon, and colon cancer, all very possible side effects of ulcerative colitis. With this knowledge, I wish I could tell my seventeen year old self, ulcerative colitis should be taken seriously.

Had you ever heard of ulcerative colitis or Crohn's before being diagnosed?

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The Symptoms Book

My family knows my love of the symptoms book my mom bought at a garage sale. I didn't start reading it until I started having symptoms of ulcerative colitis. The book has been a standing joke in my family, that I suffer from hypochondria because I often have used that book to help guide me in finding out what's wrong with me. Eight surgeries and several hospital visits later, no one really thinks I suffer from this, but it would be something to keep us laughing as I was waiting for a doctor visit. Unlike a hypochondriac, I truly do suffer from physical ailments.

Books like this, and the Internet have been my faithful companions through all my trials with ulcerative colitis. They allowed me to see that I wasn't alone in my experiences. The symptoms were not caused by stress or diet. Despite all the help from these means, I think I learned much more about the disease outside of the confines of a book.

Great Items for Sufferers of an IBD

Don't Just Accept What the Doctor Says

Countless people have shared with me stories of how they were diagnosed incorrectly, then later discovered it was Crohn's or ulcerative colitis. The most common misdiagnosis is irritable bowel syndrome. If your instincts tell you that it is more than irritable bowel syndrome request a colonoscopy. Although, it is possible for a colonoscopy to be incorrect.

If you don't feel like your doctor is taking you seriously, switch doctors or seek a second opinion. This is your body, your life, trust your instincts. Too many people go undiagnosed for too long. Their symptoms get much more severe before it is discovered and they spend way too long recovering or trying to get it under control, rather than getting it under control from the start.

Bottom line: It's not in your head. Don't let people convince you otherwise.

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It’s Not All in Your Head

Many people in the mid-twentieth century believed that IBDs were psychosomatic diseases, meaning that they were physical manifestations of a psychological problem. Even still today, many laypeople associate ulcerative colitis as an emotional problem. Countless times through my trials, people would give try to help me by telling me stress management techniques. I would think to myself, I am way more laid back and relaxed than you, why in the world would you possibly think I have stress management issues. IBD caused by stress has been proven untrue. I know in my life, some of my most peaceful times, I was sick, and some of my most stressful times, I remained relatively healthy.

Keep in mind that there is a connection between mental well-being and physical well-being. Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s are not caused by mental or emotional problems, or even the way you cope with stress, although stress can aggravate an already existing case of the disease. This is true for all diseases. Those who are under a lot of stress are more likely to have problems with their diabetes, asthma, arthritis; that doesn't mean the way they handle their stress caused it. Nor does it mean that how severe the person’s disease is how well they deal with stress. Much of it is due to their genetic make-up.

Sure Signs It's More Than Just Diarrhea

Part of the reason that people believe this disease is related to stress is because a relatively healthy person will experience diarrhea or an upset stomach before an interview, a hard exam, or other stressful situation. The difference with ulcerative colitis or Crohn's and nerves is it's more than just diarrhea. For one, there is a lot of pain associated with these diseases. Another is that they will see blood in the stool.

Blood can be caused by hemorrhoids, so do not assume just because blood is present that it is an IBD. If the only blood you see is on the toilet paper, then there is little concern. Also, even the smallest amount of blood can turn the whole bowl pink or red.

One difference, a huge difference is the amount of blood. Right before I had my colon removed, there were times when all I would have is blood with minimal amounts of stool. That's why it is so incredibly essential if you see blood, go to the doctors. If it's just hemorrhoids, don't be embarrassed, at least you'll get a cream to treat it.

Truth is, if you think it's more than just diarrhea, you need to be seen. As I stated, it's not all in your head. Maybe it's just an infection or a bug, but if diarrhea lasts more than a few days, it is time to be seen. The earlier you get seen, the more efficient your treatment will be.

© 2010 Angela Michelle

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Comments 17 comments

btrbell profile image

btrbell 4 years ago from Mesa, AZ

Thank you for a great hub! I will be sharing this! I hope you are feeling good. As a Crohn's patieent for the past almost 40 years, I can relate! Up and useful!


angela_michelle profile image

angela_michelle 4 years ago from United States Author

Your welcome, feel free to write more if you have any questions. I know talking to people online helped me a lot.


Simon 4 years ago

Thank you Angela!


angela_michelle profile image

angela_michelle 4 years ago from United States Author

It truly is terrible, thanks for commenting.


amithak50 profile image

amithak50 4 years ago from India

Thanks for the nice post ,This is really very terrible ..and we should take care of it


angela_michelle profile image

angela_michelle 5 years ago from United States Author

I think they are kind of lonely diseases too. I agree we should be in constant contact with your doctor, you could be risking your life.


reflux 5 years ago from USA

Nice hub, very right information, Crohn's and colitis are very scary diseases. If someone diagnosed with these diseases than he/she should consult a good doctor.


angela_michelle profile image

angela_michelle 5 years ago from United States Author

Sam you should definitely keep sharing. Others are helped by your experiences!!


Sam Dolloff profile image

Sam Dolloff 5 years ago from Maine

Very good Hub! I was diagnosed with Colitis when I was 9. Later when I was 13 it was changed to Crohn's. It is so important to share with others about these diseases as many people suffer longer than necessary before getting help.

It is also a very scary thing to go through alone, thanks for sharing. I have just started writing on HubPages and have written a couple Hubs about Crohn's.

Thanks again!


angela_michelle profile image

angela_michelle 6 years ago from United States Author

Thank you Pamela.


angela_michelle profile image

angela_michelle 6 years ago from United States Author

THank you so much for the kind words. I am so sorry you have so much to go through. I think I may look through your hubs, and see if there are any that would make good links to mine. I know one of the major things that got me through my worst days were people telling their stories, and sharing my story with other people. I also have other health issues, but they say that if you have one autoimmune issue you are are more apt to have another. i have asthma and arthritis. My dad has UC and psoriasis. All these are autoimmune. If you don't mind me asking, what other health issues do you have, any autoimmune?


BEAUTYBABE profile image

BEAUTYBABE 6 years ago from QUEENSLAND AUSTRALIA.

Hi Angela,

I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis at the age of 19. I had been having problems since I was about 16, but it was after I starting getting more severe abdominal pain, diarrhoea and then more heavy bleeding, that a colonoscopy revealed moderate to severe ulcerative colitis. I was treated with steroids, predsol enemas and later surgery.

I had my first ileostomy for 13 years, which was reversed for four years, the I had to have emergency surgery and ended up with yes, you guessed another one. I have witten several hubs concerning this and other problems without me going into it all.

I am still having ongoing bowel problems, even the occasional obstruction. But, it is a tough disease to live with and no I have other problems so it makes it doubly hard. So I can totally empathise with you. I you need to talk at any time, please feel free to contact me God Bless.

You will be in my thoughts and prayers love Beautybabe.


Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

Pamela Kinnaird W 6 years ago from Maui and Arizona

Very good information.


angela_michelle profile image

angela_michelle 6 years ago from United States Author

Pamela, I hope the right people come across this site, to help them, because you are right it is a hard disease to deal with.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States

This is a tough disease and your hub made some very important points. good hub.


angela_michelle profile image

angela_michelle 6 years ago from United States Author

Having suffered from one of these... I know this is a misconception! :)


thevoice profile image

thevoice 6 years ago from carthage ill

great hub you are so right thanks

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