Crohn's and the Beach
Summer is a great time of year. Longer, warmer days; fun outdoor activities; and somewhat of a looser schedule...what's not to love? However, one great pastime of Summer that may not always be fun if you have Crohn’s Disease is going to the beach.
I used to panic when I would have shore weekends (as we call it in Philadelphia) because I worried what beach we would go to and if it was close to the house where I was staying. It has ruined many weekends, and cut my beach time short, but here are a few tips I have learned to implement to make the weekend go smoother.
Tips for going to the beach with Crohn'sBe overly cautious of what you eatI knew what foods were safe for my digestive system, so I was sure to eat them on the days leading up to the shore. Then, once I arrived, I was even more cautious as to what I ate. Sure, my friends wanted to order pizza and drink beers but I knew those would not sit well in my stomach and could lead to trouble later. And, as hard as it was to pass up frozen custard on the boardwalk, I had to pass on it in order to save my stomach for the weekend.Packing my own food also helped ensure that I would be able to eat in confidence and not be stranded with “nothing to eat” or “forced” to eat something that made me sick. So planning ahead relieved some stress, too.Have a plan for the weekendVisualizing the weekend would help relieve my anxiety, too. I would know which rest stops I could visit on the way to and from the shore, and think about the beach locations we should visit which had bathrooms nearby. Staying in a crowded house of friends meant dividing among bedrooms on different floors, so I tried to get the room closest to the bathroom.And, should things get really bad, I would wake up earlier than the rest of the house and eat breakfast early so that I knew I would have time to go to the bathroom before leaving the house for the day.Speak up and be honest with those around youSometimes, you just have to be honest with those around you. There would be weekends when my stomach was so bad that I would skip the shore altogether and visit the next weekend. Or, I would go but if we had to drive to the beach, I would be sure to take my own car in case I had to go back to the house throughout the day to use the bathroom. My friends never minded, and always understood when I had a weekend when I was not feeling my best.Overall, I didn’t let my Crohn’s dictate my weekend plans, but there were definitely moments of anxiety because of the unpredictability of my bowels. Having a plan helped to alleviate those nerves and make the weekend more enjoyable!
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