Taking IBD Advice with a Grain of Salt
While having a support network of friends, family and strangers across the world is invaluable, it can also be dangerous to our overall well-being. If you live with Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis it’s safe to say you know your body’s signals and are a pro when it comes to your own personal disease journey.
Just because someone claims to “heal your body with food” doesn’t mean that is going to be the case for everybody.
It’s one thing to offer insight, it’s another to claim you have the “cure-all” for IBD. When you claim to know the best way to treat a disease you are putting others who are desperate for relief and answers in harm’s way. If there was one magic pill or one diet that put everyone into remission don’t you think we would know about it from our doctors?
What’s even worse is when people who don’t live with IBD (who are probably trying to be helpful) act like the food and drink police and question every morsel that goes into our mouths.
Unfortunately, what makes IBD so difficult is how it impacts every single person differently.
We all have a different experience, sure we may take the same medications, endure similar struggles and fears and get surgery…but, every person’s battle is unique.
I love mentoring those and talking with those who are dealing with the diagnosis or who have questions about what it was like to be pregnant while having Crohn’s, but I’m always hesitant to make widespread claims that I have all the answers. Unless you have the initials of M.D. after your name, please make it clear that you are speaking from your own personal experience and research.
Even if you are a doctor, don’t be quick to have all the answers.
No matter how many degrees a person has, if you don’t live with IBD it’s hard to truly grasp what the day in the life of Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis is like.
IBD is not something to be taken lightly. It’s something that can be incredibly isolating and shouldn’t be battled alone. Lean on others to vent and to hear their journey, but don’t try and compare it to your own. People make claims that the paleo diet is the way to go, I put myself on that and lasted four days, I almost needed to get hospitalized because of the stomach pains it caused me. Taking large amounts of roughage isn’t for everyone.
Diet claims can also be disheartening for those who don’t believe food is a main trigger.
It’s wonderful if you’re able to keep your disease in check by drinking a smoothie or not eating gluten, but for those of us who are dependent on medication that’s simply not the case.
So, the next time you’re on Instagram or Twitter and see people spouting off advice left and right, take a moment to reflect on your own personal journey and offer words of comfort, compassion and empathy rather than medical advice.
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