Talking About UC: A Sense of Humor Can Help
Nardini is very involved with her local chapter of the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA). Last year, she was selected to be the local hero for her chapter’s Take Steps Walk to raise money for research and increased awareness of the diseases.
At around the time of the walk, she was sitting with a boyfriend when she decided to reveal she has UC by starting a conversation about the walk.
"You need to join my team, Team Megan-Poops-a-Lot," she told him.
That broke the ice and she explained everything to him. "When you mention you have to go to the bathroom, like, every two hours, it can definitely ruin your image," she says. "You want to give off that you're a smooth, graceful, whimsical, wonderful person. But it just adds another side to who you are."
Nardini also told him about being in and out of the hospital for two years, and he was very supportive. She says he was taken aback at first because she doesn't "give off the vibe" that she's been through something like that.
"I just try and stay positive," she says. "I used to be a really big ‘negative Nancy.’ But I've tried to turn that around and really focus on the positive things."
Honesty and Ostomies
It can be especially complicated to tell others if you’ve had an ostomy -- surgery that creates an opening in the body for the discharge of poop -- or have a colostomy bag, which collects the poop.
"In the area of sexuality among college students, that is more of an issue as far as both people feeling comfortable with it," Sileo tells WebMD. "Nine times out of 10, people don't know many people with ostomies.”
If you’ve had an ostomy, you’ll probably need to educate others about what it is, what it isn't, and what you can or can't do, he adds.
It’s not uncommon to worry about what others will think of you when you break the news about an ostomy or your UC. But you can also learn something about them by their response.
"For some people, it can be a deal-breaker in dating and relationships," Sileo says. "If you disclose you have ulcerative colitis and what it means to you and your life, and someone doesn't want to be with you because of that, then you’re better off knowing early on."
Sex, Drinking, Smoking, and UC
When making decisions about things like sex, drugs, and smoking, it helps to be informed. You’ll want to consider some aspects of your UC.
Besides being overall bad for your health, smoking can make it harder for some people with UC to fight infection (including sexually transmitted infections).