One of the upsides of college: all that new freedom! One of the downsides of
college for people with UC: all that freedom! With it come the pressures of
dating and the social scene.
It’s true that dating and getting into relationships can be more complicated
when you have an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Most handbooks on dating
don't cover talking about ulcerative colitis and its accompanying symptoms,
like frequent gas and diarrhea.
Ulcerative colitis can begin very early. At the age of 12, for instance, Amanda Sina Griffith found herself the object of a custody battle -- and was besieged by painful stomach cramps and bloody diarrhea. “I’d had very mild stomach symptoms before; my doctor thought it was a bacterial infection. But now, it was worse,” she recalls. The diagnosis was ulcerative colitis.
Now 31, the Norton, Mass., public relations consultant and mother of a 7-month-old still finds that when she’s under stress her...
But there are strategies for getting past the awkwardness to have a good
time. Here are some ways to make dating and socializing go smoother.
Ulcerative Colitis and Dating: When to Bring It Up
"UC is not an easy disease to talk about, especially as a young woman," says
Sandra Kim, MD, pediatric gastroenterologist and assistant professor of
pediatrics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "People find it
easier to talk about things like asthma, where you wheeze, or a food allergy,
where you might break out. But a lot of the symptoms associated with UC -- not
There's no hard and fast rule about when to talk about an IBD, says Frank
Sileo, PhD, a psychologist in Ridgewood, N.J., who counsels young adults with
"All relationships develop over time, and trust has to be there first,"
Sileo says. "When revealing something so personal, there has to be some level
of trust in the relationship. There's no barometer or timeframe of when you
have that in a relationship. So you really have to trust your gut -- no pun
intended -- that this person is someone you'd really like to share this aspect
of your life with."
Broaching the Topic of UC: Just Do It
Megan Nardini, 19, a student at Ohlone College in Fremont, Calif., was
diagnosed with ulcerative colitis when she was 12 and had six surgeries in one
year. She says UC can definitely be a "strange” topic to bring up.
"It's always weird," she says. "When do you tell somebody you just met, 'Oh,
by the way, I don't have a colon and I poop a lot?' A lot of people feel really
uncomfortable talking about that kind of thing. That's why Crohn's and colitis
aren't that well known -- because nobody wants to talk about poop."