Crohn's disease - Kids & Teens
with Crohn's disease?
disease as a child can seem to affect nearly every aspect of your life
sometimes. You may face challenges around school, sports and activities
or telling your teachers, friends or other adults. You may also have
feelings such as fear, denial, relief, guilt, anger or resentment. It
usually helps to be able to talk about your feelings with someone else,
such as a friend or close family member. A counsellor may also help if
you are having trouble dealing with your illness and its impact on your
life as well as your family.
"There will be
good days, and there will be bad days. You can let yourself do less on
the bad days, because you know there will be a good day again soon.'"
You may also have a
range of emotional reactions to your diagnosis, such as fear, denial,
relief, guilt, anger or resentment. All of these reactions are normal
and usually in time, as you learn to cope with your illness, you will
reach a level of understanding and acceptance. It is helpful to be able
to talk through your feelings with someone else, such as a friend or
close family member. Also consider speaking with your doctor about
counselling if you find you need emotional support.
groups are also very helpful in providing emotional support as well as
information about specific problems or issues you are facing. They can
also help put you in touch with other children with Crohn's disease. To
find a support group in your area, get in touch with EFCCA or visit
There are several
practical things you can do on a daily basis to help you cope. For
example, if attacks of diarrhoea, pain or wind make being in public
places difficult, some practical advance planning may help. Find out
where the restrooms are at school, work, in restaurants, shopping areas,
theatres and on public transportation ahead of time. You may find it
helps to carry along extra underclothing or toilet paper. When going
farther away from home, be sure to pack enough medicine, find out its
generic (non-branded) name in case you run out or lose it, and the
location of clinics and hospitals in the area you may be visiting. It is
also a good idea to check with your doctor to make sure you are well
before you go.
Remember that many
other people with Crohn's disease face challenges similar to these every
day, and that you're not alone. Friends and family can provide support
for you, as well as support groups, who you can contact through
As you go about your
daily life, try to stay involved in some of the same activities that you
enjoyed before your diagnosis. Some days, you may not feel up to it.
Other days, you may be able to achieve it easily, and will want to put
more into it. Only you can decide what's right for you. It will help to
follow your doctor's instructions and stay positive, and to play an
active role in your care.
When telling others
about your illness, it may be helpful to give them information or a list
of resources where they can turn for answers to their questions. You can
decide how much information you'd like to give someone else about IBD,
and your illness. Some people may be curious and can deal with lots of
detailed information in order to support you. For others, just some
simple facts and practical points might be better.
practical advice, see
Achieving more with IBD.
thing you can do is learn all you can about your illness and be involved
in your care. Working with your doctor to make decisions and address
your concerns will give you back a feeling of control. It is most
helpful if you talk openly and honestly about any concerns you may have,
and ask questions along the way if there is something you don't
understand or if an answer is unclear. For more information about
working with your healthcare team in the management of your disease, see
Your IBD Consultation.
Here are some things
you can do to play an active role in the management of your illness:
Be involved in
the proactive management of your own health every day
Know when and
how to take care of your general health
management plan and take your medication
Ask questions if
you are concerned, and seek help if a problem arises
It is best to
discuss any questions you may have about diet and your condition with
your doctor and he or she may suggest that you see a nutritionist for
For more tips and
resources to help you manage your IBD, please see
Developing Your Management Plan. For more advice on managing
stress, diet and travelling, please see
Achieving more with IBD.