Personal relationships

The problems that come with Crohn's disease often mean that you cannot always be as flexible or spontaneous as you may like. Having the support of family, friends and colleagues will go a long way in helping you to cope.

Family issues

Family members may be just as worried as the person with Crohn's disease, especially soon after the diagnosisThe process of determining which condition a patient may have. is made in a young person.

Parents of children with the disease are often acutely anxious and may even feel guilty that their child is suffering. Sometimes this makes it harder for young people to discuss their own anxieties.

Older children and teenagers may also feel that their parents' concern over activities and medication schedules is restrictive, while parents may worry that their child is running risks that could exacerbate the problems.

It is important to be aware that illness in one family member is stressful for all of you.

It may help to realise that you all need to be able to express your concerns and emotions, and that talking through issues as they arise is better than allowing anxiety or even resentment to build up.

Sexual relationships

Crohn's disease can affect your sex life and your relationships with partners. Although the condition does not usually interfere with the physical capacity for sexual intercourse, at times the 'mood' can be dampened by fear of incontinenceThe involuntary passage of urine or faeces. or abdominal pain, or simply by fatigue.

Talking to your partner and airing your concerns will help to reduce the negative feelings.

People with stomas and ostomy bags might like to empty the pouch before sex or cover it with specially designed underwear.

Finding a lovely, supportive partner a few years after my operation has certainly helped me recover. She works at the hospital I'm currently under and we're now happily married. Thanks to her job, she understands what I've gone through and just accepts me for who I am.