Managing Your IBD at Work

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, is a chronic gastrointestinal condition that can be unpredictable. With symptoms including diarrhea and crippling abdominal pain, you may be struggling to figure out how to manage your IBD at work.

At GastroMed in Miami, Florida, our experienced gastroenterologists understand the effects your IBD has on every aspect of your life. But that doesn’t mean you need to hide away or give up your career, which is why we’re sharing our best tips on how you can manage your IBD at work.

Consider talking to your supervisor

Whether you share your IBD diagnosis with your boss at work is up to you. There’s no law that says you have to disclose your medical history to your employer.

However, being open and honest about your IBD and the symptoms you experience may prevent unnecessary reprimands and stress. Your IBD may lead to unexpected absences. If your employer is aware of your chronic condition and its unpredictable symptoms, he may be more understanding of your call-outs. 

If needed, our gastroenterology specialists can provide background information about your IBD to your employer so they have a better understanding of your condition. 

Ask for accommodations

IBD is a chronic condition that significantly affects bowel function, which is considered an impairment of a “major life activity.” This means you have civil rights protections under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), and your employer is required to make reasonable accommodations that make it easier for you to perform your job duties.

With IBD, this may mean you have an office with easy access to the bathroom. Or, if your IBD symptoms are worse during certain times of the day, your employer can adjust your work schedule to accommodate your disability. 

Prepare for the unexpected

You never know when your IBD symptoms are going to strike, so we recommend you create a “just in case” kit to manage the unexpected. Fill your kit with:

Eating small, frequent meals also helps prevent IBD flare-ups. We recommend you keep snacks at your desk or pack a couple of mini meals you can eat throughout the day. 

Find healthy outlets for work stress

Like most people, your work may be a source of stress. Though stress doesn’t cause IBD, it may lead to a flare-up of your symptoms. To reduce your risk of flare-ups, find healthy ways to release your job stress, such as meditation or listening to relaxation tapes.

If your job is too stressful and is the underlying cause of most of your IBD flare-ups, you may want to consider looking for a new job. Though your career may be important to you, it shouldn’t be at the expense of your health.

Change your treatment plan

IBD can’t be cured, but with the right treatment, we can help put your chronic gastrointestinal disease in remission. If you’re experiencing frequent IBD flare-ups, it may be time to make a change to your treatment plan.

Our gastroenterologists specialize in the management of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis and can help you find the right treatment or combination of treatments to keep your IBD symptoms from running your life. 

To schedule a consultation, contact us today by calling the office most convenient to you or by requesting an appointment online. Telemedicine appointments are available.

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