From the Desk of Beth Battaglino, RN, CEO, HealthyWomen
It’s a story I’ve heard far too often. Women suffering from symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) for years before receiving the correct diagnosis.
That was the case for Renika Wood, who told HealthyWomen, “By the time I was 27, I was so used to being sick that I knew no other way of life. I had chronic diarrhea and bouts of dramatic weight loss. I was often nauseated and fatigued, and my stomach was on fire with pain. Usually I just attributed the discomfort to stress. But that year my symptoms became so intense that I went to my primary care physician for bloodwork … And so my decade-long journey with Crohn’s disease began.”
IBD affects more than 3 million Americans with approximately 70,000 people receiving a diagnosis each year. The two most common forms are ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn’s disease, which can cause abdominal pain, chronic diarrhea, rectal bleeding, weight loss and fatigue. In more severe cases, patients can have continuous symptoms that interfere with daily life.
I’m thrilled that we’ve launched our new IBD education program, so you can learn to better manage and understand your symptoms, discover how IBD is diagnosed, and realize the importance of having good communication with your healthcare provider and being open about your symptoms.
You’ll also hear from Tina Aswani Omprakash about how cultural stigma affected her journey with IBD and how she took control. “When I would discuss my condition, people within my culture told me, ‘This is a diet disease. You did this to yourself with your poor lifestyle,'” she explains. “I never want anyone to suffer from the shame and stigma like I have, which is why I have become an advocate. IBD is a lifelong condition, but people do not need to suffer in silence.”
I hope that you or a loved one will heed this advice and, like Renika and Tina, advocate for yourself to get the answers, health advice and treatment you need.
In good health,
This resource was created with support from Bausch Health, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Ferring Pharmaceuticals, and Takeda Pharmaceuticals U.S.A, Inc.