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Part 1: The Way Medication Is Presented To Patients Matters!

I have been thinking more and more about the medications we are offered as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients. My dad was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, ankylosing spondylitis, two years ago. Because AS can also be an extraintestinal manifestation of inflammatory bowel disease, I have done some research on the disease. I am far from an expert but definitely feel as though I have more of an understanding than your average person.

Long term effects of an untreated chronic inflammatory condition

Over the past year or so, my dad’s condition has worsened. While he is still able to work and function as a productive member of society, his quality of life is being impacted. The last conversation we had about this was him telling me a list of things he doesn’t feel he will be able to do when the time came. As someone who knows him and his hopes for the future, I obviously have become more concerned. I am also knowledgeable about the long term effects of an untreated chronic inflammatory condition. Because of this, I have had some strong feelings on the subject. This led me to think about newly diagnosed IBD patients and the ways I feel a doctor should approach various treatment options.

Changing mindset when diagnosed with a chronic illness

My dad has thankfully never needed or taken any medication other than ibuprofen. Just like so many of you reading this, it is often very difficult to get in a new mindset when you are diagnosed with a chronic illness. Having been completely healthy myself prior to ulcerative colitis, I also never imagined I would need long term daily medication.

What is “good enough”?

When I was at a conference recently, the topic of not accepting “good enough” came up. For example, just because you are going to the bathroom 20 times a day instead of 50 doesn’t mean things are okay. Obviously, so much of what we go through and seek help for is relative to what we have experienced in our past. Coupled with what we can handle currently.

As my dad continues to see commercials for the medication his doctor wants him to go on, he becomes increasingly concerned over the side effects. I totally get it. Who wouldn’t be? Especially when someone with an autoimmune disease is told they can first try OTC meds, or make dietary changes, or add yoga to try and manage their disease.

Making the decision to go on medication

It would honestly be odd for someone to have the mentality of “Nope. No supplements for me. I am going right to this very strong medication with the potential for a lot of side effects.”

In part 2, I plan to delve more into a discussion about biologics and their role in treating Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis. My dad’s diagnosis has really made me think about those of you who are more newly diagnosed with IBD. I hope the next part of this article is helpful to those of you who may be on the fence about certain treatment options.

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.