Some children don’t want other pupils to know about their condition so withdraw from social activity. The symptoms of IBD mean some children may not feel confident in joining their friends for normal social activities like birthday parties, sleepovers, swimming or going for burgers. This can make them feel socially isolated, as can hospital stays.
Some of the physical side effects of treatments (like the puffy face associated with steroids) and the general taboo about poo can make children targets for teasing and bullying. Oral Crohn’s, while not affecting all children with Crohn’s, can be disfiguring as it affects the mouth and lips, and lead to bullying because of appearance.
Others whose disease is ‘invisible’ with no outward physical symptoms can be perceived to have special privileges (for example, coming in late or leaving class without explanation), and this can cause resentment among peers. Teachers should support children with the emotional difficulties of IBD.