5 Ways to Deal With Crohn’s at Work
- Talk to your boss. You will probably have a difficult time hiding all Crohn’s symptoms in the long term, so the best approach is to be up front with your boss and explain your condition. “It’s best to let them know of your Crohn’s on day one,” says Dr. Dhere. “They may not understand what Crohn’s disease is, and it may be your job to educate them. This will foster a more understanding environment in which you can work.”
- Make sure access to bathrooms is available. Requiring frequent bathroom breaks is a reality of having Crohn’s disease. Just be sure to tell your manager why you need to use the bathroom often. As long as you explain yourself clearly and your boss understands that you’re making a good-faith effort to be on the job as much as possible, it shouldn’t be an issue.
- Fight fatigue. Another Crohn’s symptom you might be facing is fatigue. “Fatigue may be due to poor diet and the associated malnutrition; the drugs used to treat Crohn’s disease; anemia, which is common in patients with Crohn’s disease; the effects of Crohn’s surgery; or malnutrition due to chronic diarrhea or a fistula,” says James Church, MD, a colorectal surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. And though some of these issues are out of your control, you may be able to manage fatigue to a certain degree with a healthy Crohn’s diet, exercise, and good sleeping habits. “Depression and anxiety may also be overlooked as a cause of fatigue and are treatable once recognized,” says Dhere. “It is important to discuss fatigue or any other Crohn’s symptoms with your doctor so they may be able to tailor a treatment plan designed for your individual needs.”