Crohn’s disease tends to get a bad rap. Like really bad. Like don’t talk about that it’s gross and creepy bad. People think those who have it (like me!) are some kind of alien bathroom cult that leave a trail of contaminated toilet paper wherever we go. That our stomachs “hurt” sometimes, and that we’re just trying to be annoying by bringing our own food to events. But you know what? We’re not. We are students, teachers, siblings, friends, parents, coaches, artists, and musicians. We are people with a complicated chronic disease, not just exaggerating toilet users.
We aren’t just numbers on a diagnosis count, and we have interesting, non-poop-filled lives just like “normal” people. Sure, we have a disease. But Crohn’s isn’t something we should be ashamed of and afraid to talk about. It’s a disease just like any other, and it deserves awareness, because that’s one step closer to a cure. So, behold! The top 10 list of misconceptions about Crohn’s disease that make me want to scream. Let me know of your own so that I can add it to the list. Let’s see how long we can make it!
1. Crohn’s is just a bathroom disease.
Crohn’s disease can affect ANY area of the digestive tract, from your mouth, to your butt. (Yes, I said it. Remember, no shame.) It can also affect the joints, eyes, skin, mental health, and causes a whole host of problems due to malabsorption. Don’t even get me started on medication side effects…
2. Everyone with Crohn’s has it the same.
Ha. It’s just the opposite. IBD is not a one-and-done deal. No two people with ANY condition respond the same, and Crohn’s is a very complicated autoimmune disease. No two cases are alike, just like a snowflake.
3. Crohn’s is caused by stress and anxiety.
Nope. While stress can trigger symptoms, the disease itself is an autoimmune condition in which the body attacks its own healthy cells. This is caused by genetics and environment, but stress is not the culprit. If only it were that simple…
4. Crohn’s can be cured with medication.
While medication can prevent further damage and control symptoms, it is by no means a cure, and many people with IBD need to take several medications just to manage their disease.
5. Crohn’s is something that adults get.
People of any age can get Crohn’s disease, and it’s not any easier for children or adults to deal with.
6. Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative Colitis are the same thing.
Crohn’s disease deals with the absorption of nutrients and can be found anywhere in the GI (digestive) tract, while Ulcerative Colitis is found only in the colon and deals with the absorption of water. Both are incurable, ranging from mild to severe, and require continuous management.
7. People with Crohn’s are allergic to a lot of food.
The reason why so many “Crohnies” can’t eat certain foods is because they are too hard to digest and could get caught in the inflamed digestive tract. However, some also happen to have food allergies, so talk to the individual, don’t just use online facts when cooking for someone with IBD because everyone is different.
8. You can easily tell if someone has Crohn’s disease.
No way! Crohn’s is an “invisible illness,” meaning there is no way to tell if someone has it by looking at them. It deals with the organs inside, not outside, so don’t think someone is lying just because it’s not on the outside. You should see some of our intestines…
9. People with Crohn’s are sick all the time and have horrible lives.
Ha-HA. Does my life sound horrible? While life with Crohn’s is far from a breeze, the goal for IBD patients is to control their disease and put it into remission. Although this doesn’t get rid of it, people with Crohn’s can lead full lives after adjusting to the changes that need to be made. There is treatment and doctors available to help.
10. Crohn’s Disease sucks!
Yep, you got that one right! But in all seriousness, who else can look AMAZING while fighting their own body from the inside out? I mean, that’s pretty cool.
Remember, leave a comment below with an idea so that we can make this list grow and spread awareness about this *fabulous* disease 😀 !!!