You may have heard of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), but have you heard of microscopic colitis? One of several conditions under the IBD umbrella, this chronic, inflammatory disorder of the colon (aka the large intestine) can cause watery diarrhea and abdominal pain. It gets its name from the fact that microscopic examination of the intestinal tissue is required to diagnose it.
While less severe than other forms of IBD, microscopic colitis can cause considerable discomfort. Combine that with the stress, long hours and unpredictability of holiday travel, and you can imagine the challenges. What do our 24 members with microscopic colitis (80% of whom are female) have to say about this annual ordeal? Here is a sampling of their stories and advice:
- “Yes, only people with colitis know how important a bathroom is! I am so glad to have found others with this problem. When I talk about it, nobody knows what it is. I have to ride to Chicago at the end of this month, and it is a five-hour drive. It makes me so nervous to be in the car for that long. I am already stressing over it. Thank goodness it is my son taking me there so I can say pull over fast.”
- “I reduced my caffeine (coffee), that seems to help somewhat, but I have flare ups. I also have bladder issues. I also had colitis for quite a long time before being diagnosed. About the bathroom thing, I know all the bathrooms en route too, and I sleep closest to the bathroom. (Actually when were looking for a house, that was a requirement for me to have a toilet/bathroom next to me.)”
- “There is a gas station, convenience store, or restaurant at almost every exit. If you explain why you need to use their bathroom, they usually let you. My GI specialist also has me on Colestipol, which is much better than the Imodium-type drugs. The Colestipol I only have to take twice a day, and it is much more effective. I can usually avoid eating anything before leaving, and usually don’t have a problem with trips that long.”
For those with microscopic colitis or other forms of IBD, going to grandmother’s house for the holidays can be quite a different story. Fortunately, you’re not alone. At PatientsLikeMe, we have 27 patients who report IBD, and more than 4,400 members subscribed to our Intestinal and Digestive Health Forum. Need a little support this holiday season? Log on to PatientsLikeMe to share and learn with those who can truly relate.