How Can I Help My Spouse With IBD When a Flare-Up Hits?

You Are the Best Advocate for Your Loved One Who Is Experiencing a Flare

Pit Stop Crew
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Being the spouse or partner of a person with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) has its ups and downs. Caregivers often wonder how they can be helpful to their loved one, especially when a flare-up hits and a need for a bathroom becomes urgent at times. There are many things you can do to help your spouse when he or she is having a flare up of Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis. A strong support network is important in helping people with IBD as they navigate their disease. Here are some of the ways caregivers can help.

Finding Restrooms

When you're out and about, finding a restroom in a hurry can become a priority. Make it your job to find the restrooms wherever you are going. When you go shopping, get a map or find an employee who can tell you where the facilities are located. When you go out to eat, make a note of where the restrooms are located (such as in the front or the rear of the restaurant). Helping to clear the way when it's time for a bathroom stop can really help.

Be Prepared to Stop

While traveling, be prepared to make "pit stops" for bathroom breaks. When driving, this means you'll need to be flexible about taking a detour off your route. Plan extra traveling time — and some patience! — for these frequent stops. Even with the best planning, remember that you might still end up arriving at your destination later than you intended. It's easy to get frustrated when your loved one needs a bathroom (again!), but try to remember that they don't have control over the problem, and getting upset about it won't help. Try to find a way to stay relaxed and it will go a long way towards helping the situation.

Staying on Track With Medication

People who have IBD have a less-than-stellar reputation when it comes to taking medication. There are many reasons why people with IBD don't take their medications on time (or at all). But the truth is that sticking to a treatment plan is the best way to get out of a flare-up. As the closest person to your partner, you can help with reminders about taking medications on time. The two of you can work together to come up with a system for remembering medications.

Keep Communicating

Remember: Your spouse does not have a lot of control over when and where a flare-up will hit. What you can do is prepare for the tougher times, be understanding, and deal with emergency situations as they arise. The sharpest tool you have in your arsenal is communication. If you are talking about how a flare-up is affecting both your lives, you can work through the problems together.

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