My Clothes Don't Fit–Thanks UC!
Last updated: September 2022
We all know that inflammatory bowel disease comes with a multitude of problems (it isn't just about bowel issues!). Many experience skin issues, abscesses, dental issues, hair loss, eye problems, fistulas, fissures, hemorrhoids... and the list goes on and on. One thing that seems trivial, but is important and often gets overlooked is the wardrobe problem.
I don’t have anything to wear!
'Fess up ladies! How many of you have uttered this phrase? I definitely have. Before my diagnosis of ulcerative colitis, the phrase could be translated into, "I need a wardrobe update." After diagnosis, it took on a whole new meaning!
Ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease and indeterminate colitis can cause rapid weight loss. On more than one occasion I’ve found myself shopping for "skinnier jeans" so that I could have something to wear out in public other than pajamas. I have nothing against wearing pajamas in public. Heck! I've don’t it myself. But it's generally frowned upon when you come to work wearing your pajamas.
Do these steroids make me look fat?
There are a couple of obvious problems with updating your wardrobe while you’re underweight. One problem is that you have clothes that don’t fit when you finally get your disease under control. Another problem is that the steroids, along with other medications can make you gain weight or retain water weight.
Who the heck has the kind of money to afford an incurable disease, plus multiple wardrobe updates? Not many patients, that's for sure. And don't get me started on the self-esteem aspect of weight fluctuations.
Rude comments from other people
It's unfortunate that people think they can comment on another person's weight. Not cool. I’ve been on both edges of the sword. If you’re underweight, people will mock you and make snide comments about you being "so skinny." Um, I’m sorry, I have a disease. I also hated the comments about my obvious weight gain during the course of my disease. "Oh, you needed to plump up. You were far too skinny." NOT HELPFUL, YA’LL.
So, how do we solve the problem?
This is a problem that is not easily solvable. And it may take some effort, but you can do it. There are a few things you might consider looking into when dealing with the wardrobe aspect of IBD.
Clothing rental services
I was very surprised to learn that there are actually clothing rental services out there!!! It’s true. Type "clothes rental" into google and you’ll get over 2 million results. While I’ve never used it myself, it is definitely a viable option.
Let's go thrifting!
Another option is thrifting. It's actually more common than you might think. It can be fun to go out with friends and thrift together. You would be surprised at the nice things you can find in a thrift shop.
Keep your eyes peeled for yard sales or estate sales. Where I live there's an estate or yard sale just about every weekend and you can really find some nice things for a good price if you’re diligent.
Does living with IBD impact you financially?