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Oversensitivity: Another Symptom of IBD?

When I had my first ostomy at the age of 16, I was always so worried that everyone would know. I became kind of obsessed with making sure it was completely covered at all times. I wore very loose fitting clothing and wouldn’t eat very much in public to ensure the bag didn’t fill up so much that it was noticeable to someone else. I was, and still am to a large degree, very sensitive about how often I use the restroom. My stomach makes a lot of embarrassing noises which always makes me incredibly nervous when I am around other people.

I have learned over the years that we are all overly sensitive to something.

For example, when a person has a pimple, they usually feel like the entire world is staring at their face when most of the time no one even notices. I am slowly learning that people are too busy focusing on their own insecurities to worry about what I have going on. I also understand that I am obviously very sensitive about certain things (like having an ostomy) because it is a huge deal to me. And because it is something that is always at the forefront of my mind, I sometimes feel like it is all anyone can think about too.

When I was a teenager, I remember being so freaked out if someone touched me anywhere near my stomach because I felt like they would automatically know I had an ostomy and be grossed out. My parents always told me that most people don’t know what an ostomy is, let alone assume I had one. While I knew this rationally made sense, I couldn’t fight the insecurities I had about being so different.

Now that I am older, I am no longer embarrassed if someone sees my ostomy or knows that I have one.

However, the noises it makes is something that I’m not really sure I will ever be “okay” with. I also find that I feel the need to make excuses for why my stomach is making noises or why I need to use the restroom more frequently than your average person.

I am trying to ingrain in my head that while I may think all eyes are on me, more often than not, no one is noticing the things I get so freaked out about. For example, I told my therapist that I didn’t feel comfortable eating and drinking in front of my boyfriend’s kids because of the noises it makes. His response was that they are probably so wrapped up in what is going on with them (or their insecurities) to even notice what is going on with my body. I am just super sensitive about it.

When you suffer from an invisible, chronic illness like Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, there are many times when our bodies rebel against us in some way. This can be frustrating, discouraging, and very disheartening, to say the least.

With chronic illness, it’s not uncommon for our bodies to change frequently.

For example, weight fluctuations, scars, and surgeries. All of those things change our outward appearance in some way which understandably, can make someone feel very sensitive about those things.

Please remember that just like you have things about yourself that you are overly concerned about, so do other people. And those people are usually a lot more focused on the issues facing them than they are trying to dissect every little thing about you.

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.


  • thedancingcrohnie moderator
    1 year ago

    Great point and it is so true. Everyone is dealing with “stuff” and most of the time, that’s all they are worried about.

    Thanks for the read!

    Always dancing,
    Elizabeth (team member)

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