Whether it’s the silly season, a rush of September birthdays or a string of weddings, a succession of fabulous parties can be a blessing and a curse, especially for those with IBD.
Running the gauntlet of canapes, uncomfortable shoes, set menus and open bars is enough to throw a spanner in the health of anyone, let alone a person with a chronic illness. However, with a bit of forward planning and discipline you can be rocking the dance floor with the best of them, without the health hangover following you into the next day (or week). That way you can live to party another day!
Eat before the party
Stocking up on good, nutritious IBD-safe food before heading out on the town has a three fold effect: you’ll have something in your stomach if the bar opens before the kitchen; you won’t go hungry if the party food doesn’t agree with IBD your diet plan; and, you’ll have stocked up on the healthy stuff first, leaving less room to indulge in the naughtier (and symptom-provoking) options at the party like cake.
This is partying 101. Whether you indulge in a tipple or not, it’s important to stay hydrated especially if the event is outdoors or on a hot day or evening. Your skin and your digestive system will thank you if you up the H2O in place of other beverages such as coffee, alcohol, juice or soft drink which can aggravate a sensitive GI tract. All those options can have a negative impact on your digestion so it’s important to flush your system with plenty of water if you’ll be indulging in the other liquids as well.
Don’t be afraid to say ‘no’ or be a guest star
Having IBD means you need to always put your health first and let your body take it easy. Flitting about at a party if you’re in the early stages of a symptom flare can be an express ticket to pain and discomfort, especially if the symptoms catch you out while you’re still at the party. If your health is a little rocky, or you’re feeling run down and low-energy, then giving a party a miss could be the safest option. Yes, even if it’s your bestie’s wedding or birthday bash. If they’re close to you they’ll understand that your health needs to come first, and if they’re not then you probably won’t be missed.
Another option if you’re on skay IBD ground, but not quite in the midst of a fully fledged flare up, could be popping in for a quick cameo. Simply make an appearance at the main event, make your apologies and leave after half an hour. This sends the message that, while you may be feeling ill, you still really made an effort which will mean a lot. Ultimately you need to decide what your health can manage and make sure you don’t overdo it.
The day after the night before
If you do go out and end up overdoing it – whether in terms of food, alcohol or just dancing a little too much or too late into the night – it’s important that you take steps to recover and minimise any effects this might have for your IBD. Take your medication, nourish your body, take it easy, have an early night and up the water intake again. And these aren’t just the steps for the next day – if you overindulge in something you don’t often go near (such as lots of alcohol or sugar) it can take a few days to recalibrate and recover, especially if you’re IBD is playing up. Listen to your body and, if it’s telling you to slow down, hit the brakes.