Ainsley's Top Tips for Living with IBD

Ainsley smiling in nature wearing a blue top
Growing up I always had problems with digestion, and had an early introduction to digestive imaging and scopes. As I got into my late teen years, I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and early onset Osteoarthritis in my hands when I was in my early 20s. I was becoming overweight and wanted to change my lifestyle. As a kid I was always active dancing, working on the farm – but as I got into college I slowed down on all my extra activities.
Right before COVID I decided I would start exercising, eating better and seeing a naturopath – it was the best! I started to notice weight falling off – but it continued to fall off even after I stopped trying to lose weight. That was the first odd sign. Then along came the hemorrhoids that would not go away even after every over the counter and prescribed medication. Later on I noticed some ongoing issues with my bowel habits, which my doctor suspected to be acid reflex.
In May 2021 I finally saw a specialist, and was diagnosed with mild ulcerative proctitis. We tried multiple medications, yet nothing was working. In October 2021, I was sent for another scope.
Sadly, I walked out of the hospital that day shocked and upset after my diagnosis of both Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

My coping strategies have been slow coming but sharing my experience makes me feel better. I choose to talk about it rather than hiding or being shameful. Here are my tips that have helped me cope:
  • I use the 5 Minute Journal daily as a reminder no matter what challenges come, there are always things to be grateful for.
  • I exercise as it helps my body from aching and keeping my mental health in check.
  • I try to eat well rounded meals to fuel my body the best I can.
Nowadays I feel victorious when I wake up and don’t feel sick to my stomach, I can make it through a shift of work (I’m a Massage Therapist) without issue, and I have finally found a medication that seems to be making a difference for me!

  • Canada has among the highest incidence rates of Crohn's and colitis in the world.
  • 1 in 140 Canadians lives with Crohn’s or colitis.
  • Families new to Canada are developing these diseases for the first time.
  • Incidence of Crohn’s in Canadian kids under 10 has doubled since 1995.
  • People are most commonly diagnosed before age 30.

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