Best Blogs for IBD

Screen Shot 2018-11-10 at 11.55.41 AMThese days, many people blog about their personal experiences, and blogs about IBD, IBS, and other autoimmune disorders are common. While they all have something to offer, I would like to highlight six blogs that helped me when I was struggling after being diagnosed.

 

  1. Girl in Healing

This blog is great for general tips about how to take care of yourself if you have IBD, specifically if you have Crohn’s disease.

https://girlinhealing.com/

 

  1. Colitis Ninja

This blog showed me that I’m not alone and that IBD isn’t a weakness. Reading the blogger’s posts gave me a much-needed confidence boost.

http://colitisninja.com/

 

  1. Heal Me in the Kitchen

As someone who has had to follow a strict diet for years, it’s nice to know I’m in good company. This blog is full of great ideas about cooking for a paleo diet.

http://www.healmeinthekitchen.com/p/httpsstatic.html

 

  1. Ali on the Run

Through her blog, Ali shows that you can be an athlete even when you’re dealing with IBD. Her blog is extremely inspirational, and it will show you that anything is possible.

http://www.aliontherunblog.com/

 

  1. Lights Camera Crohn’s

This blog is also great for general tips and for understanding someone else’s personal experience with the disease.

Home

 

  1. It Could Be Worse

True to its lighthearted title, this blog has helped me to stay positiveeven during difficult times.

Published Work

 

I followed these blogs when I was first diagnosed, and I still keep up with some of them now. They are informative and inspirational, and, most importantly, they let me know I am not alone. I hope these blog recommendations will help you as much as they helped me


Mindfulness

Meditation and mindfulness training are good for everybody, but they are especially great for IBD patients. IBD can be extremely stressful at times, especially for students and those with full-time careers. Meditation and mindfulness help people to find peace and calmness. I have used meditation and other forms of mindfulness training to help me deal with the stress of IBD, and I found that the best part of mindfulness is that it only takes a few minutes a day to calm down and release your stress.

According to a study conducted by Wolters Kluwer Health, mindfulness can bring long-lasting improvements in mental health and quality of life for patients with IBD. The researchers tested patients after eight weekly group sessions and an additional day-long intensive session. The sessions included guided meditation, mindfulness exercises, and group discussions of challenges and experiences. Patients were also encouraged to perform daily meditation at home. Those who completed the program experienced lower anxiety and depression scores and improved physical and psychological quality of life. They also had more awareness of inner and outer experiences. Six months later, they continued to experience a significant reduction in depression and improvement in quality of life.

While mindfulness training clearly helps to improve the mental health of IBD patients, it could also improve their physical health. Sometimes, stress can cause one to relapse into a flare up; if patients can reduce stress through mindfulness training, they may be able to prevent flare ups.

Obviously, not everyone has the time to go through as intense a program as the subjects in the study did. However, you can still practice mindfulness at home. I find meditation to be the most helpful for me. I use the Calm app to meditate, and I’ve heard Headspace is another great app for meditation.

Remember that small habits can lead to big changes in your life. See if daily acts of mindfulness can change your life.

 

 


Teens v. Young Adults with IBD

My brother and I have been dealing with similar symptoms for a couple of years now. While he has yet to be diagnosed, I suspect he may have mild Ulcerative Colitis or Crohn’s Disease. He was diagnosed with IBS, but some of his symptoms seem closer to Inflammatory Bowel Disease than IBS. I’ve noticed that although we have been going through the same thing, we have had vastly different experiences. Although my experience has been difficult and unpleasant, my brother faced even greater difficulties, probably due to the difference in our ages.

My brother is a senior in college, while I am a senior in high school. I was diagnosed when I was thirteen, and he was diagnosed last summer. I had a better support system because I was so young: My mom helped me to change my entire diet, and my parents helped me with my accommodations for school and provided emotional support when I needed it. I never felt completely alone.

My brother’s experience, on the other hand, was much harder because he was living alone. He was supposed to be preparing for his future, but his symptoms were weighing him down, and he was at a point in his life where his teachers didn’t care that much about his illness. He had to learn how to make his own food, he had to schedule appointments, and he had to force himself to get up in the morning no matter how much pain he felt.

We bonded, in a way, over our shared symptoms. I gave him as much advice as I could, but I knew he would be alone during this time. He also never truly explained to his friends what was happening with his body. If he had been honest with them, they would have been able to offer him their support and he may not have felt so alone.

The main difference between us is that one of us had a support system and the other did not. I know having somebody by your side is a great help, especially mentally. I hope in the future he relies on his friends to help him through difficult times.

Despite the differences, there are many things, to which both teens and young adults with IBD can relate. I found an article on how we can all cope with IBD. Overall, the most important thing is to find a support system.

 


How Stress Affects IBD

Stress can have a major effect on one’s physical health. While stress is commonly associated with headaches and acne, it also has significant effects on ulcerative colitis. According to the journal Gastroenterology Research, exposure to extreme stress can cause a fivefold increase in one’s risk of relapse. Researchers also found that stress, bad mood, and significant life events are correlated to IBD flare-ups. In a study published in Gastroenterology Research and Practice, researchers found that psychological stress can lead to an increase in the permeability of the intestines, which causes symptoms such as a leaky bowel. They also found that stress affects the immune system, which can disrupt neurotransmitters and hormones. Additionally, IBD can increase stress through constant worry about symptoms and medication management.

Several stress-management techniques can help people with IBD avoid stress-related negative effects on mental and physical health. These are some of the techniques I have found useful:

 

  • Meditation

I use the Calm app, which talks the user through the meditation practice. It has different sets for different types of meditation.

  • Stretching

Stretching helps to relax muscles and promotes calmness.

  • Sleeping

Getting enough sleep is crucial for managing stress levels.

  • Exercise

Exercise releases endorphins, which can increase happiness and lower stress levels.

  • Finding Someone to Talk To

Whether it be a parent, a sibling, a friend, or a teacher, find someone to talk to about your stress. Sometimes, venting can help you realize that you don’t have much to be stressed about.

  • Self-Care

Taking a break to read a book or listen to music can significantly lower stress levels.

 

I hope that these tips help you to handle stress a little bit better. It is important to keep your stress level as low as possible when suffering from IBD. Let me know in the comments what you do to combat stress.

 


Anger and IBD

It’s common to feel angry when diagnosed with IBD, and even for years afterwards. When I was first diagnosed, I didn’t understand the disease well, and I didn’t realize how it would affect my life. I knew I would no longer be able to eat the foods I loved. I would no longer be able to dance, and suddenly losing an activity I had loved since childhood made me feel lost and angry. I would have to spend less time with my friends, and when I went on trips I was constantly on edge, worrying that I would make a mistake and eat something that caused a flare-up. Over time, all these emotions have settled, and I’ve realized that the disease is manageable.

Even if you’re angry and frustrated about the situation, there isn’t much you can do but accept it. You have to experiment with medications, listen to doctors, and change your diet and fitness routine. You have to learn to lean on others because you can’t do it by yourself. You can’t shut people out. I used to spend most of my day in my room with the door shut because I wanted to avoid being around people. My anger made me want to lash out at those around me. My parents would hover over me as if I had become fragile, something they had never done before. My friends distanced themselves from me because they didn’t know what to do or how to comfort me. I could feel that everyone was nervous, and they were treating me differently than before.

This feeling will eventually pass. Your family and friends will become used to the disease and will stop asking you questions all the time. If you learn to accept the disease yourself, then they will too. The disease affects your body, so they will trust you when you tell them that you are okay.

Although I can’t give you advice about dealing with your anger when you are having a hard time accepting your disease, I can tell you you’re not alone. I’ve been through it as well. I sometimes still feel angry when I think about my situation, but I know there’s nothing I can do about it. I just have to try my best to get on with my day. This disease has become a part of my life: It doesn’t feel abnormal to have ulcerative colitis; it feels like it’s a part of me. Sometimes, accepting the anger is the only way to move forward.

This article gives four different ways to help cope with the anger that sometimes comes with IBD.

 


Dealing with Depression and Anxiety

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is a painful and upsetting disease that can change how you live your life. The pain, bleeding, and other severe symptoms associated with IBD often lead to depression and anxiety. IBD can isolate you from the rest of the world, causing you to feel lonely and unheard. 

Recognizing the signs of depression and anxiety that may accompany IBD is essential for dealing with these feelings. Severe sadness, suicidal thoughts or actions, tiredness, loneliness, and a lack of desire to do anything at all usually indicate you are suffering from depression. If you feel you are nervous all the time, shaky, guilty, or suffer from panic or anxiety attacks, you are most likely suffering from anxiety. Since IBD and mental disorders go hand in hand, they need to be taken more seriously, especially among teenagers. 

Although it may sound difficult, one of the best ways of dealing with feelings of depression and anxiety is to talk to your parent(s) or guardian(s) about how you are feeling. Talking to a parent or guardian can help you work through the emotional pain, and they may be able to find professional help for you. If you don’t feel comfortable approaching your parent(s) or guardian(s), then you can try to get help on your own. The internet offers many forums for people with IBD where people ask for advice. These forums create a community among IBD patients, and it lets them feel less alone. Other people suffering from the same disease completely understand what you may be going through. For people in need of support, communicating with people who have had or are having the same experiences can be comforting. You might also consider talking to your close friends about your disease, letting them know how it makes you feel. In addition to your family, your friends provide a system of support for you. They will help ensure you never feel alone as you battle this illness. 

When dealing with anxiety, it is crucial that you find ways to calm yourself down.  I have found that simply drinking cold water and lying down for a few minutes to catch my breath can be highly effective at calming me down. Reading a book, watching a movie, or listening to music can also help. Talking to others is another great option. You might also consider engaging in hobbies, which tend to preoccupy the mind and help you not feel as on edge about everything. Becoming happier is easier said than done, but finding happiness is possible. Find something to look forward to every single day, even if it’s as simple as drinking your favorite coffee in the morning. Always look for the good that happens in a day, and remember to keep fighting no matter how hard it may be. 

The most critical thing to remember is that if you really think something is wrong and you could potentially be a danger to yourself or to someone else, please seek professional help. You are not alone, and there are people out there who would love to help you. Do not wait to get help if you feel you are suffering from depression or anxiety as a result of your IBD. 

This article that I found is very helpful for individuals suffering from depression and IBD as it gives some simple tips on how to manage both your mental health and physical health. I also found some research on the prevalence of anxiety and depression in IBD patients, which gave me a lot of insight into just how common it is to suffer from mental health problems along with IBD.