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There are many ways you can help children and their families get the care they need.
How does inflammatory bowel disease affect teens?
The teenage years are challenging even without having to deal with a chronic illness. Emotional mood swings and the desire for increased independence can be especially intense for teens with IBD. Understanding what your child is going through can help you support her during this important time — and help you cope, too.
IBD can be an embarrassing disease for many teens, and your child may find it hard to talk about her bowel movements and tolerate invasive tests and exams. But it’s important that she feel comfortable discussing her condition so that we can best monitor her condition and make sure the treatments are working. This is why a good relationship between your child and her doctor is crucial. It may also be helpful to have another adult with whom she can talk about things that she may not feel comfortable discussing with family members.
As your child begins to feel better and gets back to her regular activities, there is a risk that she may choose not to take her meds. This is called “non-adherence,” and may happen for several reasons:
Your teen may also:
Of course, it’s up to your teen to decide how much she feels comfortable sharing – that’s part of letting her maintain her privacy and feelings of control. Let your teen know that while it may feel embarrassing at first, many teens find that telling their friends about their IBD strengthens their friendship – the friend is trusted with the information, and the child with IBD feels that they can trust their friend.
How can I help my child with inflammatory bowel disease?
It’s always challenging for a family to deal with chronic disease, and IBD may raise issues of privacy and independence that feel especially emotional. This can strain communication between you and your teen. Remember that good communication includes talking and listening, and sometimes what a teen needs most is simply to feel understood.
Everyday living for teens with inflammatory bowel disease
Many teens use these tips for living more comfortably with IBD:
Navigating college with inflammatory bowel disease
While starting at college is always a time of new choices and challenges, many teens with IBD are already in the habit of making choices that are good for their health. Some things to consider:
Helpful College Resources for People with IBD
Going to College with IBD, from Boston Children’s Hospital
Traveling with inflammatory bowel disease
You needn’t be denied the rewards of travel because of IBD. Lots of people with IBD are able to manage their condition well enough to let them focus on their destination and not their disease.
Helpful Travel Resources for People with IBD
Traveling Abroad with IBD
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