One of the most infuriating aspects in living with IBD is in trying to find the resources to educate and inform yourself on your condition. The first stop in learning more about your particular ‘brand’ of IBD is, more often than not, your doctor. However sometimes even your own practitioner doesn’t have the level of understanding or knowledge you may need.
There is a veritable banquet of information out there. Unfortunately, a large plateful of that information can also be found to be straight-up incorrect or worse, misleading. It can be an incredibly confusing time being diagnosed with any illness; however this confusion can be confounded x100 when you are diagnosed with a condition you have never heard of!
After the shock and upset of learning you have an incurable illness is at least at a somewhat manageable level (somewhere between OHMYGODWHATISHAPPENING? and Ok, where do we go from here?) it’s a good time to begin on your quest for answers. Here can be where the problem lies. But no news is good news, right? Wrong. Misinformation is dangerous and can be incredibly damaging to anyone, regardless of how long you have suffered from IBD.
Lately in the press there have been an overwhelming slew of articles on what may or may not cause Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis.
Just last month, Medical News Today reported;
‘Humans may be exposed to bacteria linked with Crohn’s Disease through fine spray from showers and rivers according to research led by Lancaster University.’
Meanwhile The Daily Mail quoted a local doctor, Dr Sally Mitton, who claims junk food may be responsible for causing IBD;
‘Junk food and antibiotics are being blamed by doctors for the rise in the number of young people developing a serious digestive disorder.’
Both articles working on the assumption that the daily activities people partake in (washing and eating) can lead in some way, to exacerbate symptoms or even cause these conditions. The article from The Daily Mail in particular, recently caused widespread outrage within the IBD community in the UK and beyond, due to its tone and its insinuations. It implied that patients are in some way responsible for their illness due to their diet. Many believe that changing their diet can serve to ease their symptoms and I’m absolutely all for that, however the insinuation that from children to adults if we had just put down that hamburger we wouldn’t have an incurable condition is one which rightfully rubbed a lot of sufferers up the wrong way.
It’s vital, alongside educating yourself on your illness, you learn to educate others. It may be utterly infuriating to hear those around you spout invalid information on your bowels, however instead of pummeling said persons into oblivion, try where possible to take the opportunity to help educate them on what you live with day to day. I’m pretty sure when they hear about the grizzlier aspects of your IBD they won’t be so quick to judge in future…
Read the aforementioned articles for yourself here;
Written by Kathleen Nicholls from Crohnological Order