How to Manage Crohn's Disease and Family Life

Crohn's disease has a big impact on you. It also can have an effect on your relationships. Your friends and family -- even the people you work with -- might be concerned about you and your condition. Here are some ways to help make it easier on everyone.

Talk about it.  You may think that others, even your closest family and friends, won't understand how you feel. Most will want to help but won't know how. Telling them about your Crohn's will help them see what you're going through. It may also help you get the support you need.

Be open about how it affects you. Also, be clear about any help you might need. You only need to give as many details as you want to. 

Be open with your partner.  Your sex life may not always be perfect when you have Crohn's because of the medications you take or the complications that come with it. There may be times when you just don't feel like it. Be honest with your significant other when the mood isn't right. Make sure your partner knows it's not personal. Find other ways to be close. Talk. Share your feelings. You can still be intimate without being physical.

Bring a friend.  It's a good idea to bring a supportive family member or friend with you to your doctor visits. Doing so keeps them involved with your care. But it's also important for you. Family and friends can help you remember what your doctor says. They can also help you share symptoms, concerns, or questions you have.

Accept help.  It's important to build a network of family and friends to help you manage your disease. If you'd like help with something -- for instance, errands or going to see your doctor -- tell your friends exactly what you need. If they offer to help, don't hesitate to say yes. It can make your day so much easier, and they'll know they are helping a friend.

Decide what you want to tell people at work.  You may want to tell your boss or co-workers a little bit about your condition. Then they'll understand the ways it may affect you, like the breaks you might have to take. You won't have to make excuses when you don't feel well or need to take time off. Learn your company's policies about sick days and health care issues.

Consider joining a support group.  If you don't feel comfortable sharing all the details of your condition with family and friends, you may want to join a Crohn's support group. Members will know exactly what you're going through. They can offer emotional support. Plus, they're often up to date on the latest treatments and therapies.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD on October 09, 2018

Sources

SOURCES:

Crohn's & Colitis UK: "Everyday Life."

Crohn's & Colitis Foundation: "The Intimate Relationship of Sex and IBD," "Finding a Specialist or Treatment Center," "Living with Crohn's Disease."

Mayo Clinic: "Crohn's disease."

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