Responding to Unwanted Comments About Ulcerative Colitis
Try telling a loved one you have ulcerative colitis. You might hear, “Oh, you got a little stomach bug?” or “Do we need to grab some Pepto at the store?” Well-intentioned or not, whatever they say probably won’t be helpful.
The comments won’t stop there. Friends, co-workers, and maybe even your doctor will arch an eyebrow, shake their head, and say something unconstructive. We asked our InflammatoryBowelDisease.net community to share comments they’ve received about UC, and they had plenty to share.
How often do you hear insensitive comments about UC?
UC can be confusing for everyone
People living with UC don’t need any help to feel lonely sometimes. We don’t spend extra time on the toilet for fun, and any assertion that UC is ‘just’ a bathroom disease is wrong. The symptoms of UC extend far beyond the lavatory threshold.
One example – how about UC-associated fatigue? It’s not mere tiredness, as though a single night’s rest can fix the problem. It’s a part of the illness, and during a flare, the fatigue can be downright incapacitating. Unless someone has UC, they simply can’t understand.
“I know how you feel. I had the runs yesterday, too.”– InflammatoryBowelDisease.net Community Member
How is your relationship with food?
The difficulty of discussing food
Have you heard that certain foods are energizing, pain-relieving, and helpful for diarrhea? People sometimes repeat inaccurate things in an effort to be supportive. Alas, the dietary restrictions related to UC can’t be summarized in a catchy factoid. The truth: your relationship with food can be a complicated one, especially when managing UC symptoms.
Has anyone ever asked what you’ve been eating with a hint of accusation in their tone? You can try to explain your gut’s complexities, but in truth, we don’t always know what’s best, either. Triggers can change over time. One thing to remember? Having ulcerative colitis is not your, or your diet’s, fault.
“What did you eat to cause this flare?”– InflammatoryBowelDisease.net Community Member
Being more understanding of appearances
You can be too thick, thin, or just a shade removed from perfection – and comments will still fly. You can’t control what comes out of other people’s mouths, but the damage is still done. What to do? File their comments in your mental ‘trash bin’. When you're recently diagnosed with UC, that can be easier said than done, right?
Here’s something that helps – say a kind word to someone. Let them know that everyone feels self-conscious once in a while. It’s not a crime to feel insecure. Ulcerative colitis pokes each of us differently. Return the favor by treating everyone with sensitivity.
“Wow! You’ve really put on some weight.”– InflammatoryBowelDisease.net Community Member
A little sensitivity can help
Unwanted comments about UC are often made in passing, in the quiet moments that people don’t notice. But they still hurt. UC is not completely understood, especially by the masses. Whether it’s your dinner plate or a weight critique, the words will come. All you can do is handle them with grace.
Who mostly makes comments about your weight?