It's Never Just a "Normal" Problem
Even people who have nothing wrong with their GI system will and do get stomach aches. When a healthy person gets sick, they heal in a few days.
For example, if my brother gets the stomach flu, it's not a big deal. He rides it out and lets it run its course. People like me, people who have inflammatory bowel disease, have to deal with a normal stomach virus with a lot of precaution.
Dealing with a stomach bug and dehydration with Crohn's
When I get the stomach flu, I get dehydrated. Why, you ask? That is because I already go to the bathroom twenty to twenty-two times a day. If I get the flu, it almost doubles.
It does not matter how many fluids I drink; it just doesn’t help. The last time I had the flu really bad, I had to go to the hospital because I was severely dehydrated.
A greater chance of infection when sick because of Crohn's
Every time I get really sick, my doctors know there's a chance of me having an infection. They are right, because I have an immune-suppressed body.
If the doctors do find an infection, they have to teat with oral or IV antibiotics. And we all know what antibiotics can do to our stomachs!
Panic over symptoms with a stomach virus
Because lots of us have been through the mill, we automatically assume that the stomach flu is something more. My colorectal surgeon once said to me, “Paul, you will get normal stomach viruses like people who don’t have Crohn’s.”
I’ll admit that I still panic. I think it’s because of the bad memories that are in my head from the past. But I can’t help it. I'd rather be safe than sorry.
I know my body best
I know when something is wrong with my stomach. I know when there is a bowel obstruction, or something else. It does not matter if somebody tells me, “Paul you are over reacting.” NOPE!
I am not going to listen to anybody but myself. I'd rather have the doctor tell me that I am fine.
Each person with Crohn's reacts differently to symptoms
Some of the things I might not know include: Do they have an ostomy bag? Was there somebody sick in their house that might have caused them to get sick? Don’t drive your self crazy over information that may or may not be true. When in doubt, reach out to your doctor.
In summary, a simple stomach bug is never just a simple stomach bug. It makes us really dig deep to find the root of the problem. It may take us on a road of tests, phone calls, and worrisome nights. But all of this means that you care about your body. Carry on!
Will you take our In America survey to help others understand the true impact of Crohn's and UC?