How to tell your friends and family that you have IBD?

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Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 68
   Posted 10/28/2009 3:10 PM (GMT -7)   
I am currently a senior in college, and for the past couple of weeks my friends have really been pushing me to go out drinking with them. Early in the year I would go and then feel sick the next day..... I really don't want to tell anyone about my disease, and I hate to feel limited, but its getting to the point where I have to break the ice...

I know this disease consumes our lives, but most Americans don't even know about this. I guarantee when I say.. "guys I have Crohns Disease" they won't know what it means...

Anyway... I just want to hear opinions...

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2005
Total Posts : 455
   Posted 10/28/2009 3:18 PM (GMT -7)   
I used to think that too but then I did, and found out there was someone I work with that has it and other people that knew people with it. I was really surprised and made it a lot easier to tell people about it.
SCD since 01, remission since 01, occasional random junk food breaks :)
No meds ever.

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2009
Total Posts : 506
   Posted 10/28/2009 3:22 PM (GMT -7)   
My friends found out when they called me and I was in the hospital lol. I'd just say you have Crohn's and describe it in a few words so they can understand what it does. For the record, hard liquor doesn't seem to bother me, only beer does.
Diagnosed with CD July 2007
Currently on Remicade, Imuran, probiotics, folic acid, multivitamin.

Amor fati - Nietzsche

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 6927
   Posted 10/28/2009 3:29 PM (GMT -7)   
Even before I got sick, I would notice that alcohol would mess with my system for a couple days. It would make running, situps, and pushups harder. So I stopped drinking before I even got sick. That being said I still go out. I just drink water, juice, virgin drinks (like a frozen hurricane w/o alcohol), or pop and get free drinks for being DD for my friends.
Unfortunately people find out about IBD from me because I vomit...alot.
I just say it is kinda like having a case of the stomache flu alot of the time

Forum Co-moderator - Crohn's Disease/Thyroid Disorders:_All comments have the caveat contact your local health care provider.

I will find a way or make one. –Phillip Sidney 1554-1586

All that I am and all that I shall ever be, I owe to my Angel Mother.

The Bucket List- Have you found joy in your life?  Has your life brought joy to others?

Make sure your suffering has meaning…

Post Edited (MMMNAVY) : 10/28/2009 5:14:16 PM (GMT-6)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 1070
   Posted 10/28/2009 4:36 PM (GMT -7)   
You'd be surprised how many people are familiar with the disease. In any event, educate them. It is like anything else like being a minority, or gay or an atheist. Look 'em in the eye and if they don't like what they hear, )(*&&^ them!   Good way to weed out loser friends.  I have never rec'd a negative response myself.
I use FD&C Blue dye number 1 and it really seems to help me.  There is SCIENCE behind this.  Just ask me and I will explain it to you.  U/C and Crohn's for 34 years.  Blue dye for one month and I am feeling pretty good!  I am so excited by this but I need others to try it with their doctor's permission.  Simple food coloring!!  BLUE1.  
I can't make money on this, it's already in your kitchen.  I just want to help, especially the youngsters.

Post Edited (FunGuy) : 10/28/2009 5:48:52 PM (GMT-6)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 2346
   Posted 10/28/2009 4:37 PM (GMT -7)   
I'm really surprised by how many people know about it or at least have heard about it. It seems like there are more and more commercials on tv for something havin to do with crohn's and even gets mentioned on tv shows every now and then. They are your friends...give them a chance to understand.

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2009
Total Posts : 703
   Posted 10/28/2009 4:58 PM (GMT -7)   
I had a friend in college that was in AA. He'd go out with us, but drink non-alcoholic drinks. He was pretty cool and we all respected his desire to stay sober.

Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 414
   Posted 10/28/2009 5:08 PM (GMT -7)   
I find that most people haven't heard of it, or just haven't acknowledged it before, usually after telling people they find out bout loads of other people probably becuase it makes their ears prick up a bit more!
When people say "whats that?" I just break it down incredibly simply and say jokily "my body doesn't recognise my intestines and is trying to kill them" thats usually all the explanation I need to give, few rarely push further and most are incredibly understanding.

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2006
Total Posts : 1177
   Posted 10/28/2009 5:52 PM (GMT -7)   
Crohn's disease is not as unheard of as I thought. When my husband was diagnosed, and I told people, a lot of them actually knew about it . . .they'd tell me such and such person also has it, or my aunt has it, etc. It actually really surprised me to hear so many people tell me that someone in their circle also suffered from it.

So, I wouldn't be surprised if they'd heard about it already. I think your friends will be cool about you abstaining from drinking, and will be happy with you just hanging out with them when your health permits. Also a lot of young people suffer from IBS . . . the stress of college can be a trigger for IBS flare-ups. So, they may be able to identify a little with what you're going through.

Husband with Crohn's
Diagnosed March 2003 Ulcerative Proctitis
Diagnosed March 2008 Crohn's & C-diff, hospitalized 45 days
Canasa, Lialda, Remicade, VSL#3, Florastor
In Remission since June 2008
Stopped vancomycin for c-diff Jan 1 2009
C-diff free, until Sep 2, 2009
Fighting c-diff, I guess for life

Elite Member

Date Joined Feb 2004
Total Posts : 20577
   Posted 10/28/2009 8:21 PM (GMT -7)   
All I know is there's no way I culd hide my disease from anyone, family, friends, even strangers cuz when I have to "go" it's very apparent so for me I find it just easier explaining to people why I'm there one second and gone the next in the middle of a is what it is, and you'd be surprised at how many people actually do know someone that is afflicted with IBD.

bee propolis caps 500mg one cap twice/day
omegas 369 caps one cap twice/day
probiotics 10 billion cfu once/day
vitamins C-calcium ascorbate (easy on the gut) and vitamin A each once/day
Prodiem fibre supplement one cap before bed
I've also altered my diet (no junky stuff at all, processed, fast-foods, refined sugars, ect) and exercise regularly.
I went from 30+ bloody BM's/day with lots of lower back pain to an average of 5/day no bleeding no back pain and completely formed stools, still have severe urgency issues.
~~~~~~~~My bum is broken....there's a big crack down the middle of it! LOL :)~~~~~~~~

New Member

Date Joined May 2008
Total Posts : 12
   Posted 11/3/2009 12:40 PM (GMT -7)   
I am in the exact same situation right now. I'm a senior in college and have always hid my condition from my friends at school. I never really felt the need to tell anyone because my Remicade was doing a good job of controlling everything. However, now my symptoms are coming back and I feel relatively uncomfortable and embarrassed sharing the fact that I have Crohn's with my friends. I've told others before and they never really seemed to understand it too well. I'm the type of person to keep most things inside and I really don't want to share it with them, but I feel like maybe it'd make things a lot easier when they all want to go out drinking and all of a sudden am acting weird because either my stomach feels like it's on fire or I start thinking about how everyone else is enjoying themselves and I'm sitting there thinking about why I can't drink.

Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 452
   Posted 11/3/2009 12:48 PM (GMT -7)   
I remember being a teenager and going through CD in High School and College.  I would say that you are probably more worried about it than any one else is.  Be open and honest with your friends.  I remember telling a friend about it in college back in 1994.  We are still good friends and she has been a good friend with support for me.  Don't worry so much about it.  Some of your friends might make jokes (doesn't everyone at that age), but that will pass.  Just remember...if they can't handle it, then they aren't a true friend.
36 yr old Male with Crohn's Disease since '88 - No Surgery yet
Been on almost every type of drug with bad results
Starting Remicade Nov 2009

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