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7 Vacation Fears Only IBD Patients Will Recognize

As I blog today, I’m so excited to be going on vacation in a few days time. I’ll be honest, despite living abroad in the past; this is actually my first holiday in a few years outside of my own country. Whilst part of that is due to life getting in the way, I’ll be honest and say the other part of it is due to all the fear and worry that comes with traveling with IBD. I’m all about living life to the full with Crohn’s Disease, but sometimes those nagging worries just made it easier for me to just plan a trip to somewhere inside the UK or just spend holiday time at home content with my dogs. Here are some of my holiday worries that, unless I’m crazy, you all will recognize.

1.What if I lose my medication?

There’s a military operation going on when it comes to my medication. Despite never losing anything traveling in my life (I hope I’ve not jinxed myself!) I have packed medication in my hand luggage, my suitcase and my partner’s suitcase just in case they might somehow all disappear and I’m left with nothing.

2. Where’s the nearest hospital?

I’m lucky that most of my trips are uneventful, but I find myself memorizing the location of the nearest hospital ‘just in case’ and getting anxious if there isn’t one nearby.

3. What If I am just not up to it?

One of my biggest fears is always ‘ruining’ it. Especially when you’ve looked forward to it all year round. What if it goes wrong? What If I’m just not up to eating all the local food, drinking the local wine and enjoying myself? One of the worst parts about having IBD, in my opinion, is not being able to control the illness. And the thought of it ruining a holiday you’ve spent months saving up for and looking forward to can be too much to bear.

4. What If I can’t eat anything?

I am such a foodie; which unfortunately is not a good combination with Crohn’s Disease. I love being able to try new foods and indulge by eating out each night. The thought of being left with a plate of rice (my comforting but oh so boring friend) because my stomach is not happy or nothing works with my dietary restrictions is a nightmare!

5. How many different outfits should I pack?

Okay, a pretty common question for anybody you might think. But multiply it by ten and that’s me. I have many things to contend with- I’ll be honest body image is a big part of that. Sometimes, I feel confident and other times I feel ‘too skinny’ thanks to my inability to gain weight. Other times it is my condition- high waisted shorts and tight dresses are out of the question if I’m feeling bloated or in pain. And, of course, I need to pack plenty of cover-ups as my drugs make me more sensitive to the sun.

6. Will there be time for naps?

I’m lucky that I’m going on this trip with my supportive husband but if I am ever invited on a holiday with others, my first thought is the itinerary. Traveling with others who don’t understand your condition can mean they don’t understand that going straight from a day excursion right into an evening out; is not an option! A jam-packed itinerary stresses me out no end!

7. If anyone’s going to get food poisoning, it’ll be me.

There are certain countries that are on my bucket list but are just not going to happen. India. Egypt. I’m looking at you! Whenever you read about these kinds of places; they mention that food poisoning or ‘Delhi belly’ is common-as if a night on the toilet is a worthy trade-off for a wonder of the world. Not in my case! I just know that if anyone is going to be afflicted with food poisoning, it’ll be me. And whilst it’s a ruined evening for most people, for someone with Crohn’s, it can lead to ruined weeks or even months. Not to mention the frustration that your disease is actually behaving itself and you’re still ill. So yes, I am slightly paranoid- no street food, tap water or dubious looking restaurants for me!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • thedancingcrohnie moderator
    9 months ago

    You are definitely not alone in this. I too worry about many of the things you mentioned.

    One big one is traveling with a group of people, and having a jam packed schedule to follow. This makes your anxiety run high, as you feel pressured to partake in all the activities, but you know it’s just all too much. Because of this, I always prefer vacationing with small groups or just me and my significant other. You have more flexibility with your schedule and things are just more stress-free.

    Always dancing,
    Elizabeth (team member)

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