Covid -19 and IBD

I don't usually write blog posts about problems I personally have, or a medical issue in my life, however I thought I'd share how the global pandemic has effected my inflammatory bowel disease. Which, for that matter, has been in a surprisingly good way. 

I have a form of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) called Ulcerative Colitis. It is estimated that around 1 in every 420 people in the UK have UC, so it's a pretty common disease. For those of you that don't know what it is, it's a chronic condition of inflammation in the colon and rectum. If you are turned off by talk of colons and rectums, don't be, because most of us have them. 

The main symptoms of UC include: 
-Blood in stools 
-Tummy pain 

This list goes on, and the symptoms vary is severity depending on how much of your colon is inflamed and whether or not you're going through a flare up. Fortunately I only have mild symptoms compared to others where the disease can become extremely dangerous and life-altering. 

Anyway, before Covid, my daily routine included working as a PT 6 days a week, leaving the house at 5:30am and spending most of the day out. This would be out PTing clients, going to my yoga studio and taking part in other classes. Basically, i'm a very busy bee, which has always led to a lot of unnecessary stress. I would often eat on the go, eat at random times in the day and pick up protein bars and other very artificial foods to keep me going until the next meal. On top of this, I was constantly in a stress about finance, pushing my business and getting clients through the door. 

Then Covid happened....

Now obviously, this has been an awful and distressing time for many. Too many lives have been lost and the world has been turned upside down. For many of us, it has also been the opportunity to pause from everyday life and reflect on the parts of your life you love, and maybe don't like so much. 

I love my job, but rolling out of bed in the early hours and heading straight to a loud gym just wasn't doing me any good. The same goes for constantly being out. If you have UC, you probably know what I mean when I say your tummy gets nervous being out all day. Long days usually cause my tummy to bloat and flare up, leaving me in a nasty mood. This also isn't helped by irregular meals and running around stressing. 

Before this, people would tell me to cut foods out of my diet, try calmer exercise, and I'd read several articles on the best supplements to take when suffering with IBD. However, it turns out that solving the problem was simple...slow things down. Stress was the thing that was causing more flares and discomfort. Spending every waking hour constantly trying to be at the next destination was putting a lot of mental strain on me, which was also clearly effecting my gut. 

Now i'm really not a medical professional, so please don't take any advice, this is just my experience. That being said, I have made no changes to my diet, I eat dairy, wheat (plenty of it) and I don't really take an supplements regularly, and my flares have reduced and possibly subsided. 

So, this got me thinking about how much of an effect stress has on our mental and physical wellbeing. Maybe we all need to take a look at our lives and open our eyes to the fact that stress may be the cause, or a factor in many of the ailments and anxieties that we suffer from... 


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