Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease (IBD) can negatively affect body image due to various factors.
IBD can cause physical changes such as weight fluctuations, bloating, abdominal distention, and hair loss, leading to self-consciousness and discomfort.
People with IBD may feel embarrassed and avoid social situations due to symptoms like urgency and incontinence that negatively impact body image.
Some treatments, such as corticosteroids, may cause physical changes like weight gain and a round face, triggering body image issues.
People with IBD often feel isolated and ashamed due to the stigma surrounding the condition, leading to negative body image and self-worth issues.
Studies have indicated that individuals with IBD tend to have a more negative perception of their body image than the general population. According to one study, about 87% of people with IBD expressed concern regarding their body image. Another study found that individuals with IBD with more severe disease symptoms and experience more significant fatigue are more likely to have a negative body image.
Not everybody with IBD will have issues with their body image, but it is a common challenge for people with this condition. If you’re struggling with your body image, it’s essential to talk to your doctor or a therapist. They can help you develop coping mechanisms and build a positive self-image.
Coping with IBD-related body-image issues.
Talk to your doctor or IBD nurse who can help you understand body image issues and develop coping strategies. They may refer you to a therapist who specialises in this area.
It’s crucial to educate yourself about Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). The more knowledge you have about your condition, the better you’ll manage it and deal with its impact on your body image. Excellent sources of information are local and national associations like Crohn’s & Colitis UK, Crohn’s & Colitis NL, Crohn’s & Colitis Ireland, and others.
Connect with others who have IBD through online and in-person support groups.
List your strengths and accomplishments to focus on positive qualities and build self-esteem.
Practice self-compassion. Be kind to yourself and accept your body for what it is.
Finally, give your body some exercise – take a walk, run, or try the gym. Your body craves movement, and your mind will thank you.