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Even the little things can make a big difference when you’re living with IBD.
Living with inflammatory bowel disease can be tough.
Not only because of the pain, fatigue, and digestive complications, but because it can mean you need to be prepared for things such as incontinence, the sudden need for a public toilet, or even hospital trips.
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) — which includes Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis — can be absolutely impossible to live with. And so it’s important that someone’s prepared to make their life just that teeny bit easier for them.
Here are 9 products that are absolutely essential for people with IBD.
A person with inflammatory bowel disease may have very acidic or strong-smelling stool due to the inflammation in the bowel. It can feel embarrassing when visiting a friend or when using a public toilet, but toilet sprays can help battle this.
It’s fairly cheap, and a simple spray into the toilet bowl before using it can leave the bathroom smelling like roses or citrus after it’s been used. Therefore, no worries as you leave it!
Someone with IBD may have to take lots of pills to help keep them in remission or to battle current severe inflammation.
While there are other treatments that are sometimes used, such as infusions, injections, and even surgery in severe cases, the amount of medication you take may also be quite extreme.
Because of this, it can be quite confusing to keep up with it and the timings — so having an organizer to keep your pills ready for the morning, afternoon, and evening can be incredibly helpful!
Comfy pajamas are an absolute must for people with this disease.
There will be days when you’re too ill or too fatigued to do anything, and therefore lounging around the house with clothes that are comfy on the stomach — which may become severely bloated due to disease — is a must.
Also, some people with the condition may end up spending some time in the hospital, and hospital gowns aren’t the best.
So even keeping a set of pajamas in a “go bag” for unexpected visits can be a saving grace. (More on “go bags” below!)
No, this isn’t a cushion that looks like a giant sprinkled donut. Sorry. But it is shaped like one!
The donut cushion is perfect for people with IBD who experience pain in the butt, or for those who get hemorrhoids which can also be very common.
They also can aid recovery for those with postsurgery wounds.
Having inflammatory bowel disease can make you incredibly dehydrated due to diarrhea and the amount you use the toilet.
Therefore drinks filled with electrolytes — such as Lucozade or Gatorade — can be very helpful to help replenish the electrolytes lost through stool.
Going to the toilet so much can leave you feeling incredibly sore, and sometimes toilet paper is just too rough on the skin. Not to mention it doesn’t help things like fissures which are small cuts around the anus.
Flushable wipes are a must in these instances. They’re easier on the skin and they take less time to clean up after using the toilet — and there’s no roughness on skin that needs time to heal.
These apps are a must for anyone living with the disease who struggles with using the toilet multiple times a day.
This can be debilitating and can make you feel scared to leave your house out of fear you’ll have an accident, not knowing where the nearest toilet is. But these apps save the day as they help you track down the nearest public toilets along your journey.
This can help ease the anxiety of leaving the house, which can often be difficult to do. The peace of mind can make all the difference.
A toiletry bag is essential for someone with IBD. It’s one that’s ready to go with you to the hospital or one to take out with you in the car.
Filling a bag with wipes and whatever other toiletry products you may need helps you feel more at ease — instead of worrying about where the nearest shop is so you can get them.
These are also helpful for people who have stoma bags, who need to carry their supplies around with them.
Many Crohn’s and Colitis charities offer “Can’t Wait Cards” or similar, which is a card you can show public places so that they can allow you to use their staff toilets.
It can be a struggle going out and not knowing where a nearby toilet is, or suddenly needing to go when you don’t expect it, so showing one of these cards is vital for getting to a toilet in time.
Of course, every case of inflammatory bowel disease is different and there may be other products that suit other people’s needs. But these 9 common products can be a great place to start!
Hattie Gladwell is a mental health journalist, author, and advocate. She writes about mental illness in hopes of diminishing the stigma and to encourage others to speak out.