An unburnt birthday candle laying on its side while a burning match hovers above the middle.

Age Of Onset

One of the weirdest aspects of Crohn's disease is everyone has a different age of onset. Even within my own family, the age of onset has varied drastically.

My late grandfather, a WWII Veteran, developed Crohn's disease at the age of 80. One of my brothers was diagnosed at 25, another at 40. My age of onset, however, was 10.

As they say when I tell off-color topical jokes at a comedy club, TOO SOON! Yes, I got Crohn’s disease WAY TOO SOON!

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My point being, this is a very weird disease. You never know when it might strike. Honestly, it tends to catch all of us off guard. Who, after all, could possibly be expecting it?

The role of genetics and stress in Crohn's diagnosis

I often like to speculate as to the precipitating factor that induced my symptoms to begin. Obviously, there is a strong genetic component. But beyond that, it seems as if stress might be a contributing factor. It certainly seemed that way with my relatives as well.

For example, my grandpa had to cope with the death of both his son and his wife in the course of a year. He then developed Crohn's. Coincidence? Probably not.

It’s certainly possible, at least, that the added stress and despair was a factor in the disease suddenly flourishing within his aging body. He needed a genetic predisposition of course.

And diet and environment played a factor. But the extreme stress might have pushed him over the edge.

There are other examples. One of my brothers got it shortly after his wife gave birth to his first child. This was a major life change since he used to spend so much time with friends and now became laser-focused on the baby.

Could the added stress, and change in lifestyle, have brought out his Crohn’s disease? Certainly, it seems possible.

Improved mental health led to remission

As for me, I was quite repressed growing up and had trouble communicating. Basically, for the most part, I was unhappy and didn’t fit in with my peers.

Now that I'm much better able to express myself, much happier, I've been in remission for quite some time. It could be a coincidence. Then again, at the very least, better mental health can’t hurt.

Crohn's impacts so many areas of life

Finally, I used to resent that my age of onset was so young. Crohn's has affected me for most of my adult life. It impacts everything I do.

I can't drink alcohol, eat steak, ingest dairy, and constantly live in fear of the next blockage. I've been through the grinder at times...drugs, surgeries, pain, vomiting, obstructions.

The positives of having IBD for most of my life

But now, with age, I realize that this has been beneficial in a certain respect. It gave me perspective. It helped me appreciate what others take for granted.

Plus, it forced me to work on myself and gain emotional strength. I suppose then, from a certain vantage point, I might be considered lucky.

Thanks for reading and as always feel free to comment below. Also, feel free to share your own age of onset and to mention any other factors that may have contributed to it.

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