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There is Nothing That Makes You Gross, Dirty, or Unattractive Because You Have IBD

Does A Diagnosis of IBD Mean You're Undesirable?


There is nothing gross, dirty, or unattractive about someone who has Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. Just because at times our disease causes “ugly” things to happen it does not mean that we are ugly. 

One of my goals for the work I do in the IBD community is to encourage people with Inflammatory Bowel Disease to have confidence and love themselves.  

What about you? Are you sitting there reading this bummed because you think you’re not attractive? Did your inner dialogue start beating yourself up about how much weight you’ve gained on steroids, your recent hair loss, skin lesions, or any other nasty thing that a patient with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis might experience? Stop it! 

I am told often by the people who read this site that they feel ugly and have been robbed of their self-confidence and self-esteem because of this disease. It makes me sad because I know those feelings well as I have felt them before 

illustration of girl wearing bag over her head

myself. Our disease isn’t as “pretty” as other diseases because a large part of it affects our digestive system resulting in frequent trips to the bathroom, bowel incontinence, perianal disease, blood loss, and other embarrassing things that can steal your dignity.

neon text says love yourself

All of that can make it very challenging to feel confident and attractive. 

The Worst Parts of Our Disease Is Not What Defines Us

Why do I care so much? I’ve gone through some real lows during the many years I’ve had this disease. I’ve been down to 82 pounds, my hair has fallen out, my body has broken out in acne from steroids, I’ve lost teeth, and have been crippled by arthritis. At one point I spent a couple months wearing adult diapers at night not knowing if I would ever gain back control of my bowels again.

During those times I didn’t feel attractive at all and I had lost almost all hope at ever having a normal life again; BUT, eventually things got better. The nature of 

IBD for most poeple is that we will go through highs and lows over and over again. It can be exhausting but at least I know that when I am experiencing a hurdle that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. In the past I was embarrassed and ashamed but now I am confident and outspoken about my disease because I know I have nothing to be embarrassed about, and neither do you.

You have surgery scars? Flaunt them.

Steroids caused weight gain? This won’t be forever; you can lose it.

You lost a lot of weight? It may come back. If not, pretend you model in Milan! :p

You have an ostomy? Who cares!? Look how strong you are!

Acne from the roids? It clears up.

My point is, IBD does not make you ugly. Be proud of who you are inside and out and know that the lowest points of our disease won’t last forever. Sometimes the highest points won’t last forever either, so appreciate them while they are there. There is only one you so be proud of yourself. Scars, ostomies, frequent trips to the bathroom, pain, and everything else that comes with having Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis does not an ugly person make.


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