It is time we normalize talking about poop. If you really think about it our bowel movements are a way to tell what is going on in our bodies much like vital signs and menstrual cycles.
We learn at a young age that everyone poops in awesome books like: Everybody Poops. But then we learn to be ashamed of what happens in the bathroom. Some people will shame, blame or humiliate us for doing what our bodies are supposed to do daily: poop! Where that cruelty comes from I have no idea and I wish I knew how to stop it!
It saddens and frustrates me when I hear people making fun of others based on their poop habits, smells, noises or anything related. This is uncalled for and in my opinion a form of bullying. Pooping isn't sexy or cute but it is important and if you have a gut disease where pooping can be scary and unpleasant you likely understand what I am talking about. This includes people making fun of smelly farts or fart noises and includes comments being made in public restrooms. Everyone knows it smells lady you don't need to embarrass someone that is likely hurting more than you. KEEP IT TO YOURSELF!!!!
Getting comfortable talking about your poop at a minimum with your medical provider is the first place to start. If your provider doesn't know what is going on then they can't help you. Then if you are feeling brave when you feel the time is right talk about it with your friends, family and significant others. Sometimes I ask my boyfriend about his poop experiences because he doesn't have IBD. I might ask something like, "does your abdomen hurt after you poop?" I am asking because that happens to me and I wanted to know if that happens to people without gut issues. The answer was no by the way.
Other times poop can come up in conversation when it comes to what I will or will not eat. Especially when I am out of town there are certain foods I will avoid for I am afraid they will give me diarrhea. I am way more open about telling people this now than I was when I was first diagnosed so don't expect to get comfy with poop talk overnight. Everyone poops and most everyone has likely experienced diarrhea in their life time so I give people the truth. Not only does that get folks to stop questioning my decision making but maybe it will help them relate and learn more about IBD.
So next time poop comes up in a conversation...don't be afraid to share your journey with pooping. You just might help someone else with out even knowing it! Happy pooping.
Moving my body is an important part of my IBD self care. I find exercise helps me by:
I have always been a pretty active person. My parents started me in sports like soccer, basketball and softball as a little girl and I continued playing sports through most of high school. I was active in a very different way in college with regular gym sessions and the occasional intramural sports game. In college I walked everywhere. To class, to friends houses, to shops and of course to the bars. After moving to Atlanta where you have to drive everywhere I still continued to frequent the gym. I had a few different personal trainers during my early years in Atlanta. In the last 3 years I have been loving group fitness. Group fitness is one of my favorite ways to move my body. The sense of community is amazing and the work outs are empowering. I also think it takes a lot of strength to grow and find yourself while working out among others. So much can be learned Barre and yoga are my go to for group fitness. Sometimes I venture to spin or pilates as I enjoy variety and trying new fitness studios.
It can be hard to exercise while living with IBD. Running for instance I find so hard. Hard on my knees and hard to breathe. Not to mention running makes me have to poop. Sometimes this is welcomed but the fear of not making it to the potty certainly kept me from running for over a year. I am slowly starting to do more of it and the plan is always to get back home so I can use my own restroom upon ending a jog. Depending on how I am feeling a simple walk can get my bowels moving, yet other times, not at all. Again uncertainty is common place with IBD and this is no different.
What I love about yoga sculpt and barre3 is that they are both low impact on the joints. Any moves that are higher impact have effective modifications to keep the knees and joints safe. I hypothesis that these exercising have less of a bowel movement trigger because they are low impact and include less jostling of my insides. Sometimes all I want is a bowel movement and there are other times when all I want is to stay away from the toilet. Regardless, exercise always makes me feel better physically and mentally. Group fitness at fitness studios also always have restrooms so if you need to leave class...you can get to a restroom pretty quickly which is so delightfully comforting.
I feel physically healthier, happier, more balanced and ready to take on the world when exercise is part of my regular health routine. When I am on vacation and eating differently and not exercising I am more tired, more crampy, more bloated and generally feeling less well. I noticed this a few weeks ago when I returned from an amazing trip. When I resumed exercise and eating better I began to feel better in a matter of days. It was magical.
Even if all you can muster up is some basic stretching or a short walk. Give it a try. It could help you in your IBD fight. Like everything else with IBD exercise too can be trial and error. Listen to your body and try what interests you. Don't forget to remind yourself that the goal with exercise is progress not perfection.
Meet nugget. Nugget is more than an adorable kitty sitting in a pineapple house. He is part of my IBD support system. Nugget is someone to talk to when nobody else is around. He listens to my worries and rubs against my legs when I am on the potty. Nugget cuddles with me more so on his own time but his purring helps to reduce my anxiety and bring me back down to earth.
One moment I remember was last fall after my follow-up GI appointment post sigmoidoscopy I came home in tears. I had learned I was still inflamed with active colitis and the inflammation was encroaching on my transverse colon. I was so bummed out. My provider started talking about stepping up to a stronger therapy called a biologic. I had put in so much effort to try and feel well. I had been on so many different diets along with, acupuncture, getting enough sleep, resting, taking naps, exercising, taking supplements, seeing many different doctors and trying so darn hard to be well. I felt defeated. I was sad. I let myself have that day to mourn this reality and to cry. The first thing I did when I got home was get on the floor with this guy. I pet nugget and cried until I couldn't cry anymore. Nugget was there for me. I am thankful. I am also thankful for the time I was prepping for that sigmoidoscopy that revealed that I was inflamed. I was in a great deal of pain trying to administer the fleet enemas as prescribed and nugget was with me on the bathroom floor looking cute as always.
Don't forget our furry friends are a part of our support system.
As an aside I adopted nugget when he was only a month old from the Atlanta Humane Society. He was 5 lbs at his 2 month check up and now is a fluffy 17 lbs. I love him more every day.
Advocacy can mean many things. To me advocacy means standing up for a cause, spreading awareness, sharing my story and inspiring others to do the same. Making strides towards system wide change and not giving up hope. I consider myself an IBD advocate because I am sharing my story and volunteering my time to help IBD warriors feel less alone and better manage their disease. I connect those that I can to others who might be able to help them and just listen when I can't.
Her are a few ways I advocate:
The supplement and probiotic industries are exploding. Possibly at the expense of all of us suffering from gut health issues, searching for the right supplement to ease our symptoms. I have been sucked into that hole over and over again. I have tried many different supplements and probiotics in hopes it will magically make me feel better or improve my symptoms. I have spent way too much money on this journey but will continue to try new things since IBD and IBS is really trial and error.
Here are a few examples of the probiotics I have tried in the past:
Just Thrive takes a different approach to gut health by replacing the “reseeding” concept with “reconditioning.” What’s the difference? The difference is reseeding is like tossing seeds on a garden and hoping they grow vs hiring a gardener to tend to the soil! This probiotic is designed to remove pathogens and bad bacteria from the gut so that the good bacteria can thrive. In turn boosting the immune system! 🌱
These can be helpful to those living with gut conditions or the general public looking to strengthen their gut and boost immunity! Since I have SIBO in addition to Ulcerative Colitis and IBS I am more hesitant to try some probiotics because of added ingredients and taking additional bacteria could fuel an already bad fire in my GI tract. These have been great for me even with all my gut conditions. 🌱
If you are nervous about trying something new...break open a capsule and take a little tiny bit at a time and work your way up! Listen to your body always and do what’s best for you!
If you want to try Just Thrive probiotics click here and use code: betterbelliesbymolly at check out for 10% off!!
Stress Relieving Tools:
What works best for you? Maybe hot baths are your go to. I do enjoy a bath but I don't do them that often and don't love my bath tub. I hope this post inspires you to find out what makes you feel well and to explore how using the tools that help relieve your stress can make you feel.
When I began to learn more about the chemicals in personal care products such as deodorant, face wash, tampons and soap I was totally freaked out. I was so afraid and started to view products differently. I switched to a non-aluminum deodorant first. I tried out several and am still open to trying new ones. This was of course an adjustment but one that I do not waiver on.
Then I heard about Beautycounter's mission to get safer products into the hands of everyone. Beautycounter's main focus is health and safety. Removing endocrine disrupting chemicals and potential irritants from ALL products they sell. That way you can rest assured when you shop with Beautycounter. Of course I was loving all of this but it was so expensive. So I waited and waited. Followed along on various IG accounts and finally pulled the trigger when there was a promotional deal. I tried the overnight resurfacing peel which came at the time with the facial wipes. I loved how gentle the wipes were on my face but OMG the resurfacing peel made a huge difference. I used it almost every night for a month and that sold me. My skin was softer and more radiant all while being better for my body. I was in love. I collaborated with a girl at my barre studio and ran a social to earn free and 1/2 off product...the more people purchased from me during my 10 day social the more I earned and I was able to get my resurfacing peel and favorite facial oil both half off and 3 FREE items. From there I decided I liked the mission of Beautycounter and the products enough to take the leap into being a consultant. So now I can educate others about safer skincare and they can buy from my website.
If you are interested in learning more about Beautycounter feel free to check out my site or send me a message if you have questions and need recommendations. I am always happy to help you find something that is right for you. Beautycouter is all about education and reform. They are working on changing the FDA rules so that products have to be monitored more closely before being put on the market. Beautycounter also collaborates with scientists at Tuffs University to produce sound research studies to better understand the effects of chemicals on the body.
Whether you are interested in using clean products, selling clean products or having a social of your own feel free to reach out to me with your questions.
Let’s be honest. The symptoms of IBD are hard enough, having to use a rectal medication can initially feel like adding fuel to a fire. Well that is how I felt when I first was prescribed suspension enemas. In addition, I was completely resistant, nervous, scared and of course embarrassed. So, so embarrassed, ashamed and afraid. I had no real concept of what to expect and was left to figure it out on my own.
I was given this medication with little to no instructions and no clue on what I was doing. I was so lost. I put a towel down in my bed and administered the enema as fast as I could to get it over with as fast as possible. I quickly learned how very wrong that technique was. Over the years, through trial and error and experimentation I have come up with a few tips and tricks for using mesalamine retention enemas.
I hope these tips can help you on your IBD journey. Please share these with your IBD community so nobody has to go at this alone.
First things first. In case you are wondering, mesalamine retention enemas are prescribed by physicians when inflammation is located in the descending colon. Sometimes, the inflammation can be referred to as “left sided.” If the inflammation is not in the sigmoid or descending colon then this type of medication may not be needed and could be cause for why you haven’t heard of them. However, if your inflammation is lower in your colon and you still haven’t heard about this medication, mention it to your provider to seek their guidance.
Mesalamine/Retention Enema Tips:
Share these tips with your IBD community so nobody has to feel alone in using this medication.
I have never been in histological remission. My scopes have always come back with active Ulcerative Colitis and inflammation. I have my fair share of symptoms and bad days due to my active disease and other gut issues. With that being said, I have been blessed to have a number of good days or dare I say great days. The hardest part of feeling “good” is the unknown for how long it will last. Knowing I could be hit with a myriad of symptoms at any given moment can make it hard to fully relax and unwind or enjoy the present moment. I struggle to quiet my fear and to truly be present. I work hard on being intentional, grateful and thankful for each day and especially the good days where I feel like my true self.
Remembering to cherish the good days and savor every moment is much harder than it sounds. It can be so easy to get caught up with the busy world we live in full of technology and many moving parts. I am guilty of this. Living with IBD has taught me to stop. Stop and smell the flowers once and a while. Look out the window and enjoy the sky no matter what it looks like. Take a walk even if it’s short or slow going. Breathe deeply and be thankful I can fill my lungs with air. As dark and as depressing this disease can be, it teaches us strength and shows us how to be truly grateful. Find something to be thankful for every day.
If you know me personally you likely know I am a bit of an overachiever. I am almost always doing more than one thing at a time. Typically I hold at least two jobs, along with other volunteer work, on top of my self-care. This can be a really awesome and inspiring way to live. However, if I am not careful it can lead me down the path to stress, anxiety and flare-ups.
I have learned the hard way to protect my time wisely. What tends to happen over and over and over again is I take on more and more work and max myself out until I get ill. This could be just catching a cold, a bought of mono, heat exhaustion, feeling faint or fatigue to a full blown Ulcerative Colitis (UC) flare-up. My goal now is to prevent these ailments from happening by listening to my body better and taking action at the very first sign of feeling run down. When I get that feeling I do everything I can to clear my calendar of what I can so I can find more time to give my body what it needs. Rest, exercise, good nutrition and peace of mind. I make sure I am drinking enough water and taking all of my medications and sometimes adding in a few to help boost me up while I my body is fighting hard to keep me well. This has proven to work for me several times. When I don’t do what my body needs I tend to suffer the consequence.
I feel like I am making this sound so easy. Like yeah listen to your body and you will feel better. No. Nope. It is not that easy. I have been working on this for years and years and still don’t always do the right thing for my body and I do still suffer from being so ambitious. I have been better at realizing this and adjusting my actions accordingly. We can be ambitious and goal oriented while living with IBD we just have to put our health first so we can chase after our dreams.