Saturday, November 10, 2012


While we get to know each other a bit, I'm going to start with some of the basics for folks with IBD. Having a chronic illness impacts your life in many ways, and one of the most significant is "quality of life". Even when it comes to walking out the front door (or perhaps, you prefer the side or back door, whatever), you need to be prepared.

Here are some of the provisions I keep handy:

1. Clean underwear. You don't need to use your imagination here. Sometimes, your gut is suddenly horribly unhappy, and you just couldn't get to the restroom in time, or there was an unexpected leak in your gasket. I keep mine in a Ziploc bag. First, this serves a way to keep the clean ones clean and discreetly folded. Second, it provides a place to seal up the soiled underwear, should you want to either take them home to launder or even throw them out.

Tip: Notice that they are black. If my Crohn's is acting up, or (for you ladies) if it's "that time of the month", I opt for black underwear. I do this because black doesn't stain.

2. Portable wipes. These are the generic Walgreen's brand, but they work just as well as the Preparation H brand, and are less expensive. These are great not only for cleaning up an accident, but for days when your bowels are more active and you need to clean up.
3. Barrier cream. This is not a topic I discuss freely with friends. But yes, my nether region can be fairly sensitive, and some days, I need a cream to help protect it. If I don't, I get irritation and rashes (A+D ointment is particularly effective for rashes). It's miserable to be in pain "down there" and honestly, those desk chairs at work don't offer a lot of comfort for a sore bottom. This helps.
I found the Aquaphor Healing Ointment when I had babies. It comes in a travel size tube, perfect for toting around, and it's nice to have something that's not conspicuous! At the store, it can be found with the baby diaper creams.
Side note: I'd like to publicly thank my Crohn's Disease for my hemorrhoids. Fortunately, using the wipes and Aquaphor helps keep them happy, but as a last resort, I do sometimes use Preparation H cream (not pictured). I prefer the variation with hydro cortisone.

4. Imodium, or another variation of Loperamide. A must-have. By now, I know my body well enough that I am aware of when I should take some in advance (for example, before a big presentation that I'm nervous for). I keep a bottle at home and a bottle in my desk at work, but I like the individually wrapped caplets for traveling or being out and about, as they are easy to put in my purse or even in my pocket.

There you have it. Your IBD pack-n-go kit. For those of you who already use one, did I miss anything? What else do you keep in your emergency kit?  For anyone who's new to this: I hope you find this helpful. And finally, to anyone who doesn't have to worry about this: consider yourselves lucky. You have extra points on your quality of life scale!

Be well!

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