5 tips for having conversations about your digestive condition

While some people find it hard or embarrassing to talk about their GI condition, telling your friends, family, and even your coworkers about your condition and how they can help you may reduce stress in the long-run. Here are 5 tips to help the conversation go smoothly.

1. Overcome internal feelings of shame and embarrassment

For some people, feelings of shame or embarrassment can be the most stressful part of having digestive issues. It’s important to remember that you didn’t choose to have these issues and by sharing this information with your friends, family, or colleagues now, you are avoiding more stress or questions in the future when emergency situations might arise.

2. Keep it general

You don’t need to say the specific condition you have, if you don’t feel comfortable. Rather, feel free to leave it as “digestive issues,” “cramps,” or a “GI condition,” as that’s usually the most detail that people want or need to hear anyway. You can share as much or as little as you’d like. 

3. Explain how it can impact your plans or time together

Having digestive symptoms likely means frequent trips to the bathroom, saying “no” to certain events because you don’t feel well, or other disruptions in how you spend time together. Make it clear how your issues or condition might require them to show extra empathy or flexibility so that you can feel more at ease when going out in public or when you need to stay in. 

4. Think about what you’ll say ahead of time

Having a list of talking points or making a mental note of what you want to say and how you want to say it can help the conversation go smoothly. While the script will vary for each person, keeping things short and sweet can often be the best way to go. You can say things like, “I’m doing what I can to control my digestive symptoms, but sometimes they act up or get worse unexpectedly.” This doesn’t need to be a spontaneous discussion. You should share when and how you feel most comfortable. 

5. Be specific about how your family and friends can help you

In addition to providing information about your struggles and an opportunity for open conversation, make sure to let your family, friends, or colleagues know how best they can support you. Is it showing emotional support? Carrying a back-up emergency bag for you? Let your loved ones know specifically how they can help as part of your support system so you feel more at ease.

We all get an upset stomach, heartburn, or other digestive problems every once in a while. But if your symptoms aren’t going away, are getting worse, or are impacting your quality of life – you don’t need to suffer any longer. Schedule your appointment today and get seen right away by an Oshi Health GI provider.

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