What should I tell my friends and family?
It can be difficult talking to friends and family about Crohn’s disease; you may be embarrassed talking about your symptoms and this can feel isolating, however talking about your problems may help you to feel more positive about your condition and help you find practical solutions.26
You may just want to tell a few key individuals close to you, or more people. It depends entirely on how many people you are comfortable knowing about your condition and how close you are to them. You could discuss it with a small number of people, and later share your diagnosis with more people as you feel more comfortable, and you don’t have to give everyone a detailed explanation. Discussing your condition should help people to understand your experiences and enable them to be supportive when things are difficult.26
Useful talking points could include what Crohn’s disease is, what your worries and concerns are in relation to it, your symptoms and how they affect you, and what support you need to help manage them. It may also be helpful to discuss specific aspects of Crohn’s disease you find difficult, such as what happens during a flare-up, how your symptoms make you feel, how you may need to have urgent toilet access, the effect of your symptoms on your social life, and any side effects from your medication.26
You may wish to ask for support from your friends and family, which could involve understanding when you feel unwell, flexibility when making plans if an activity isn’t appropriate and encouragement to live healthily and keep taking your medication.26
Having printed or web resources to share with people you discuss your condition with may also help them to understand Crohn’s disease better.26
Informing family and friends of the kind of treatment you’re receiving, what the possible side effects are, and what you require in terms of medication storage in the fridge may also be helpful, so they understand if you experience side effects and what they should or should not do with your medication, such as they shouldn’t take it out of the fridge.
For more information, please visit Crohn’s & Colitis UK.