How to tell people you have crohns?

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Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 221
   Posted 9/9/2008 1:03 PM (GMT -7)   
I am 20 years old and have had crohns for almost a year.  I have told my family and close friends that have crohns, but I am going to be studying in London for a year and will be living with complete strangers.  Theres no way to hide the fact that I take so many meds, go to the bathroom a lot, have fatigue, restricted diet, and all the other amazing things that come along with crohns.  The people I have told are really supportive about, but I know and trust them.  I dont know how the tell the people I will be living with in London that I have crohns.  Do I wait for them to ask me whats wrong or do I tell them upfornt? I dont want to scare them away, because I want to make friends, but at the same time I think I need to be truthful.  Any advise that I should tell these people would help a lot.

Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2008
Total Posts : 76
   Posted 9/9/2008 1:18 PM (GMT -7)   
I think you should be up front with the new people you are going to live with.  Think of it this way if you don't you will get stressed and bothered and that is not going to do your CD any good.  Im sure they will be very understanding. Tell them in the first few days or so. I know its not nice and you will probably feel uncomfortable but I guarantee you you will feel much better once you know that they know.  Good luck wink

Elite Member

Date Joined Feb 2004
Total Posts : 20577
   Posted 9/9/2008 1:21 PM (GMT -7)   
If they're brave enough to ask "what's wrong" they should be brave enough to handle the can down-play it if needed but mine as well tell it like it is.

My bum is broken....there's a big crack down the middle of it! LOL :)

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 4219
   Posted 9/9/2008 3:37 PM (GMT -7)   
I wait until I'm popping my meds, or we are going out to eat or something. I might just say "oh, is there a bathroom there? I have crohns so I need to plan ahead."
26 Year old married female law student (last year!!). Diagnosed w/ CD 4 years ago, IBS for over 10 years before that, which was probably the CD. I am sort of lactose intollerant too but can handle anything cultured and do well w/ lactose pills and lactaid. For crohns I am currently on Pentasa 4 pills/4x day and hysociamine prn. I also have bad acid reflux and have been on PPI's since age 13. I have been through prilosec, prevacid, and nexium. Currently I am on Protonix in the morning and Zantac at night. I also take a birth control pill to allow some fun in my life.

Veronica Ballerina
Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 69
   Posted 9/9/2008 4:27 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi, Yeah, I have been in your situation too, nowadays, I do not care anymore!
All my friends know about my situation, the ones that have never called me back after I have told them, were not actually my friends.
Now tell this to strangers could be a little difficult, first if you are feeling ok, keep it to yourself, if you are not, tell the truth, I do not know where you are from, but people I have met from Europe tend to be more reserved than people from Brazil and USA or the whole latin America, is just the way they are, I think we are more passional to deal with things sometimes - this is not necessarily a good thing though!!
I have also realized that when I tell people that I have a disease that they have never heard they look at me very scared, as if I have the Ebola virus or something like that, explain that is an autoimmune disease and it is not contagious, say what your symptoms are and what are your restrictions when you are in a flare, you do not have to give them all the sordid details. Knowing your problems they will respect why sometimes you are not eating someting or not in the mood to go out, the wil understand that you are not a pokey person! YOU will feel better telling them
Veronica Nunes - 27 years - Brazil

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2004
Total Posts : 3932
   Posted 9/9/2008 6:13 PM (GMT -7)   
If you have to live with these people, just tell "em flat out the facts of Life for us CDers. If not, they don't need to know.
I only inform people who have a need & a right to know. Very few in reality..


Texan with Crohn's
Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 362
   Posted 9/10/2008 7:33 AM (GMT -7)   
I am up front about it to everyone now. I have seen the full gamut of responses from people. My canned short introduction to CD is "I have gut problems." I use this with folks that I am not sure how much they want to hear. If they ask, I give them the full description.

Have fun over there!! At least the food shouldn't be too wild. tongue

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 3763
   Posted 9/10/2008 7:47 AM (GMT -7)   
I agree that some short basic, " I have stomache issues" should suffice to begin with.  If and when they want more info, you will probably have become more comfortable together and will feel more able to share.  I have always been an over sharer, but thats just because I figure the more CD is talked about the more likely more money for research and the more people who might just want to understand what we go through.


CD 19 years offically, 29 unofficially. 3 resections '93, '95 '97
Symptoms constantly but all tests show only minor ulcerations. Currently having multiple episodes of gastritis with no known cause.

Prednisone, 6MP,Prevacid, B12 shots, Bentyl, Xifaxan.....

Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2008
Total Posts : 211
   Posted 9/10/2008 7:52 AM (GMT -7)   
I think that the advice given here is good. What do you feel comfy doing about telling your new roommates? Would it be more comfy for you to tell them when you all are sitting down talking about yourselves and lives? Or would it be easier for you to wait until they see you taking your medication?

When you tell them just kinda give them a few moments to let it sink in—they might have questions for you about it. For example: My son is autistic. He is high functioning and to see him you wouldn’t know it. I let him wonder though the library on his own with me in the background. He will spend a TON of time looking for one book that he has decided he needs to get. He will ask the library lady to help him and they will spend up to 20 minute searching. He will ask her to check the bookmobile, the books other kids just brought back, etc… The first time he did this I decided I better let the librarian know about his autism. I just walked up to her when my son was looking on the shelf and told her that he is autistic and will really focus on the book. It is like gold to him. She told me that she would be happy to make sure he gets it. She asked me about other versions of the book (such as on CD) and they went on their book hunt. If I hadn’t told the gal about his situation she might have been harsh to him, however since I did tell her now when we go to the library she knows exactly what to expect from him as well as how to handle it.

35/f   proud single mom of 2

Diagnosed with GERD/Acid Reflex 2002

Diagnosed with IBS 2007

Diagnosed with UC, then Crohn’s 2008

Current medications: Endcort 3mg 2X daily, Asacol 400mg 3 tablets 2X daily, Prilosec 20 mg 2X daily, Probiotics, Calcuim/Mag/Vit.D. garlic and Vit. C 500mg daily

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