May 2019 is inflammatory bowel disease awareness month.
Today, I would like to join the conversation in media and focus on passing the message from Crohn’s and Colitis Australia to the community who suffer form Inflammatory Bowel Disease.
Statistics show that 1 in 2 Australians living with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis struggle with psychological distress.
Being diagnosed with a chronic illness, or having symptoms return after a period of relative good health, the uncomfortable changes that you are faced with can have an impact on your mental wellbeing. Your self-esteem, confidence and sense of worth can all be affected by upsetting physical symptoms.
Feelings of stress and isolation can even develop into anxiety and depression, which are both common in people with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis as well as everyone else who suffers from gut related disorders. For some people, this emotional experience can be more difficult to manage than the illness itself.
It is recommended that you use a strategy that will help you stay emotionally balanced.
There are few tips from experts for you on what you can do to reduce the symptoms of emotional distress.
1. Make sure that you learn how to manage your disorder dietary and medication wise, because the less inflammation you have the better mental wellbeing you experience.
2. Eat well – have a balanced diet and eat what you can tolerate. If you struggle with your diet, speak with a nutritionist who understands IBD and gut related disorders.
3. Be physically active, don’t underestimate the power of endorphins but be aware of your energy levels and adopt the sport schedule to your physical health.
4. Sleep well – it is important to get at least 7 – 9 hours of sleep a day.
5. Seek support from a health psychologist to learn new ways of dealing with IBD.
And finally, build strong network of supportive people around you. Your family, your friends and colleagues at work, are all capable of elevating your mood and supporting you, when they know that you are struggling.
In addition, I strongly encourage you to help improve the health system and join The Australian Study that focuses on improving the health system and supporting patients with IBD. The intake for the study is open now, and that is the link to follow to sign in.
The study is lead by International Centre for Community-Driven Research, a non-profit organisation supporting patients in Australia to have their voice heard.
So, If you suffer from Inflammatory Bowel Disease and you have 20 -40 minutes spare, please sign up for the study today!