Intimacy and Abscesses Don't Mix.
When I was quite young and I was diagnosed with IBD these were some of the words that came to mind when I thought of Crohn’s disease and worse; what I thought others would think of my Crohn’s disease.
As I got older and went through my teen years and young adulthood, I learned that I was none of those things and no one else thought so either. Yet there is one thing that can still make me feel repulsive and disgusting and that is abscesses.
Pain and negative feelings of an absess
A few days before last Thanksgiving I started getting a giant perianal abscess. If you’ve had an abscess before then you know how excruciating the pain is. If you haven’t had one... I hope it stays that way. I ended up having to stay home alone on Thanksgiving because my abscess was so bad that I couldn’t wear any clothes on the bottom half of my body due to the pain.
The pain of abscesses is some of the worst pain I’ve experienced in my life. They prevent me from falling asleep and if I do fall asleep, I am woken up only a couple hours later from the severe pain. They are so painful that I am unable to sit, lay on my back, or walk, so I end up having to lay in bed propped up on my side with no clothes on the bottom half of my body. There is no end to the pain until it begins to drain on its own or until you have to go have it surgically drained.
The negative feelings of Crohn's come back with an absess
I have had several abscesses so I’m very familiar. I spent Thanksgiving alone, propped on my side in bed, laying on a towel in case the abscess began to drain... which it did. If you have a queasy stomach I’d probably skip this next paragraph.
What happens when an abscess begins to drain?
When an abscess begins to drain, it drains a bunch of pus fluid and blood. After-all, an abscess is an infected pocket of pus. #glamorous
The picture below is of an abscess I had on my armpit around the same time which I had to have drained by my doctor. I, of course, cannot show you pictures of the abscess that is the topic of the previous discussion.
You can imagine how painful this would be to have anywhere, let alone as a perianal abscess.
Getting intimate doesn't happen with an abscess
The pain is one thing but just as difficult is the mental health part of living with them. I begin to feel disgusting. I certainly do not want my partner close to my body which certainly puts a strain on the romantic part of a relationship. There is nothing attractive feeling about laying naked on a towel so your pus can drain while next to someone.
There is no sex. Not with the pain and not with what it is. Depending on how long the problem persists, this can mean a very long time with no intimacy. Certainly, there are other ways of being close to someone but I just don’t feel like being close when I’m going through it.
It’s tough. It’s a real mental battle because I just start feeling so unattractive and nasty. My mind goes to all sorts of self-sabotaging places. These are some of the things that are more difficult for Crohn's patients to talk about because it can be embarrassing. I want those of you who go through it to know that you're not alone.
Have any of you experienced the same kind of feelings?
Does exercising regularly help in the management of your symptoms?