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woman holding a handful of pills remembers when she only had one pill

You know you’ve had IBD far too long when…

When it comes to IBD, we’re all in the same boat, but you can usually spot the difference between the newly diagnosed and the old-timers who feel as if they’ve had it forever. As someone who was diagnosed in 2013 (but likely had Crohn’s Disease since a teenager), I thought I’d share some of my own recognisable moments, as well as those of fellow IBD patients who I asked to share the realities of living with IBD long term too.

You know you’ve had this disease far too long when…

1. Poop literally no longer phases you

You’re more than happy to chat about it. Describe it. Take pictures of it. You try to be sympathetic when non-IBD friends tell you they couldn’t possibly poo in public or at a partner’s house but to be honest you don’t get it. What’s the big deal? We all do it. You’re just happy to make it to the toilet in time!

2. You laugh after the person taking your blood tells you it might hurt a little

After having your blood taken for the 300th time that year and surviving colonoscopies and MRIs, surprisingly a little needle is the LEAST of your worries.

3. You have a memorised word for word answer when someone asks what IBD is.

It started off with vague mumblings about an upset stomach but once you’ve been diagnosed a while, you have the answer down and are more than happy to draw accompanying diagrams too; should it be required.

4. Rice is always in your cupboard

Because we all have those days when its the only thing we can stomach.

5. You’ve lost count of the number of people who have seen your bottom

Haemorrhoids. Abscesses. Fistulas. Fissures. There are many rectal complications of IBD and you know you’ve had it a while when you no longer mind complete strangers examining your back passage. And when it comes to friends and family, nothing says love like checking to see if your haemorrhoids have gone down.

6. You’re no longer phased by pooing yourself

In the beginning, you couldn’t imagine anything worse. But it happens. And you get over it. In fact, you’ve got a routine down for those times you just don’t make it in time for the toilet. And you move on.

7. A normal bowel movement is a cause for celebration

…and confusion too! What could have caused this magical occurrence? Is it a blip or could this be forever?

8. You know where every public toilet is in every place you visit

Who needs a map? Your toilet radar is 10/10.

9. People know you as the person to go to for advice on their poo

I’m not sure how this occurs but somewhere down the line, you become known as the person who will happily chat about poo; meaning people will somehow turn to you to get advice on their own digestive woes. It’s a bit annoying being the ‘go to poo girl’ but any chance of raising awareness of IBD is a good thing in my book!

10. There’s spare underwear in every single bag

You might not always need it but it’s not worth taking the risk!

11. You actually know how to spell the names of your medication

When you were diagnosed you couldn’t get past the first few letters. But now your spelling on point and you know the contents of the leaflet inside out; including every single side effect.

12. You reminisce at the time you took a single tablet a day.

Because now your prescription goes on for miles and you need an organiser just to make sense of it all.

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.


  • amdom21
    4 months ago

    Jenna, Your article is refreshing, candid and funny but #7 really resonated with me. In my 60 years of living with IBD, that rare and miraculous normal BM still makes me suspicious about how and why but more importantly it gives me hope for a cure.

  • Julie Marie Palumbo moderator
    5 months ago

    You nailed it!! I am definitely raising my hand for knowing the locations of all public bathrooms, being the go-to person for all things poo-related, and knowing how to spell my meds 🙂

    Perhaps we can look at these as superpowers!

    –Julie (Team Member)

  • thedancingcrohnie moderator
    5 months ago

    All of this is so true! It’s nice to hear you aren’t the only one.

    Always dancing,
    Elizabeth (team member)

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