Body image is a topic that Inflammatory Bowel Disease patients don’t often talk about due to the embarrassment and fear associated with opening up about their experiences with their Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.

It can be incredibly frustrating to feel like you have no control over how your body works or looks, especially given all the messages we receive from the media about how a body ‘should’ look and behave. We wanted to create the Body Image Toolkit as a way to express our experiences, provide tips, and start conversations about body image & IBD. It’s important to know that we’re not alone in our feelings, and that there are so many people who understand what we’re going through! 

The purpose of this toolkit is to share personal experiences of body image issues from teens and young adults living with IBD. This toolkit includes stories from PAC members, in which they talk about the ways in which IBD, treatments/medication, surgeries, and comments from others have impacted how they perceive their own body. It also includes tips for reaching out if you are struggling with negative body image. The responses are grouped by subject, and all of our tips and tricks are summarized at the end of each section.

We hope that the Body Image Toolkit will help support and guide IBD patients as they think about, open up about, and deal with body image issues. And that it will encourage those who need help and support to seek it out and feel confident that they are not alone. We hope this collaborative resource will help lower stress, reduce insecurities, and begin to break the stigmas around talking about body image & IBD!

Rosa Kelekian & Missy Neihart
Body Image Toolkit Creators


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