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Living with IBD During COVID-19

 

COVID-19 has left our world battered and confused on so many levels. Nothing seems to be as easy as before, even down to going to the grocery store. For IBD patients, it’s even more challenging. From decisions on how to navigate their daily life to the anxiety and depression directly correlated with COVID-19, living with IBD during this worldwide pandemic may seem next to impossible, but we’re here with you! Keep reading for more on what it’s like living with Irritable Bowel Disease during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

 

Navigating Daily Life 

 

Anyone with IBD can tell you how hard it is to decide to stay home or not because of IBD symptoms, but now with COVID-19 thrown into the mix, how do you really know when the right time to get out is? Well, here a few questions to ask yourself beforehand.

 

  • Is it essential for me to get out?
    • The advice given to everyone during this time is to stay home when at all possible. Understandably there are certain exceptions. Such as going to work, the grocery store, the doctor, or the pharmacy.
  • Am I experiencing COVID symptoms?
    • Certain COVID symptoms could mimic IBD symptoms such as loss of appetite, abdominal discomfort, or more frequent or loose stools. It’s vital to take account of all your symptoms to make sure it’s not just another flare-up.[1]
  • Am I taking immunosuppressant drugs?
    • At the beginning of the pandemic, there was a lot of concern regarding IBD patients being immunocompromised due to their medications. Now that we have a little more information on the disease, we have found that while it’s not true for everyone, there have been reports of patients who were taking corticosteroids fared worse than the general population. [2]

 

 

Dealing with Anxiety and Depression

As we discussed in our previous blog, Managing Your Mental Health During COVID-19, over 53% of Americans have reported that the coronavirus has negatively impacted their mental health. This is also true for Americans living with IBD. In fact, they are two to three times more likely to develop anxiety and depression than the general population.

 

Research has shown that patients struggling with anxiety or depression on top of their IBD had more severe symptoms than those who did not struggle with anxiety or depression. Things like “abdominal pain, fatigue, fecal urgency, excess gas, and blood in the stool were more commonly reported.”[3] The importance of taking the time for self-care and managing your mental health could not be overstated for patients with IBD, especially during these extremely stressful times.

 

Research Options are Still Available! 

 

COVID-19 may have paused some research for other conditions, but research studies for Crohn’s or Ulcerative Colitis are still enrolling and need volunteers! While there are some great treatments already available to the general public, there’s still no cure, and there’s always room to improve treatment options. Those who volunteer to participate at Centex Studies could receive access to the new study medication at no cost, no insurance required. Volunteers are also compensated for their study-related time and travel at the end of every completed research visit. Click here to sign up for more information!

 

References:


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