36 Things People With Inflammatory Bowel Disease Wish Others Understood

Known collectively as inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis affect more than 1.6 million people in the United States, according to the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America. They are painful, medically incurable diseases that attack the digestive system. Many patients require numerous hospitalizations and surgery.

“It’s difficult for people who are not affected by inflammatory bowel diseases to grasp how debilitating Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis can be,” said Michael Osso, president and CEO of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America. “These unpredictable, incurable diseases can cause immense physical pain that, often times, isn’t visible to the average person. Individuals with IBD may appear healthy on the outside but internally they are struggling with inflammation, pain, nausea and cramping, along with a wide array of issues outside of the gut. It is our job to educate others about these diseases and how they are more than just a bathroom disease.”

The Mighty teamed up with the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America to ask our readers affected by Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis what they wish the world understood about their condition.

Here’s what they had to say:

— Olivia Abbott

The Most Ridiculous Things People With Invisible Illness Hear

— Ashley Minnick

— Crystal Savoie

— Stephen Barbuto

— Jillian Smith

— Ruth Abney Culp

— Stacey Stratis Fowler

— Jill Howard-Donlan

— Amy

— Sarah

— Margaret Bader

— Jo Anne Elam Pylant

— JoAnne Capell Christensen

— Jenn Hampshire

— Jessica Prince

— Diana Mays

She Questioned Our Use of a Handicapped Parking Spot. I Wish I Asked Her This.

— Russell P. Girolamo

— Ellen Contaldi

— Chelsea Mae Cook

— Wendy Havens

— Hayley Ford Denton

— Ivey Rose Coss

— Stacie Carpenter

— Daniella Leal

— Mike Straw

— Gina Walsh

— Heddalynn Stephens

— Beth Brooks

— Nancy Tychewicz

— Amira Barger

— Lisa Hemphill Pagett

The Perfect Thing My Doctor Said About My Life With Chronic Illness   

— Kimberly Ingram

— Anna Miller

— Johnathon Gray

— Shaina Wright

— Joy Fales McCarthy

*Some answers have been edited and shortened

For more info on IBD, be sure to visit Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America’s Facebook page.

By Elisabeth Brentano

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