Professional Advice Please.........

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Hi there,

I am a 30 year old male and have been diagnosed with crohn's for over 16 years now and have always counted myself very lucky compared to most people who have the same condition as i do as i have not had to have any surgery at all.

What I would like to ask you is that if anyone with medical experience could it be possible that my disability suffering from severe fistulating crohn’s has been caused by a great deal of stress, extensive working hours (sometimes double shifting), frequently changing of work patterns (from day work to night work), being asked to continuously drive all over the country and then work a full shift on top of that drive, my serious lack of sleep due to work patterns constantly changing on top of stress and office members always ringing me up when I am supposed to be sleeping plus a bad diet consisting of service station and catering van foods. If an employer was fully aware of my disability/condition and continued to make me work in the conditions stated above could that have been a factor into the fistula growing on my small intestine.

To give you a brief history on my condition I was diagnosed with crohn’s disease in 2000 where it had become very clear that something was wrong with me as I was losing a stone a month and not being able to hold any food down, since then I in fact have terminal ileum crohn’s disease. I have been very lucky in the fact that I have been in remission and able to live a so called “normal” life with very few flare ups and treatment from hospitals. I have been able to do my GCSE exams, go travelling, go on holidays and work without hardly any incidents all the way through until I began to work for an employer in January 2014 and by May/June 2014 when after working extensive hours I became very ill at work and somehow managed to drive myself to my local A&E in Eastbourne. After spending a week in hospital and numerous amounts of x-ray’s and scans the consultants and surgeons decided that there was no need to operate as there were no signs of any fistulas on my small intestine and it was only flair-up that with a course of antibiotics should keep my condition manageable and hopefully back into remission. My company were then made full aware and even wrote to my GP to ask about my condition in which he replied that I was still ok to work but they had to take into consideration that I do have crohn’s and may require additional help from them from time to time.

In November 2015 after a lengthy period of continuously having to do what I mentioned earlier I was again admitted into hospital where this time I had now apparently developed a severe fistula onto my small intestine causing unbearable pain, having to in some cases be off work days at a time. The consultants/surgeons this time contemplated surgery but instead opted for me to start with infliximab through IV to see if they could get it under control and avoid surgery. Again my employer was made fully of everything that was happening and knew that the IV’s would normally take around 2 hours at my local hospital and I shouldn't really go back to work straight afterwards, this fell on deaf ears and my work load was getting greater. I then had to cancel a few appointments for my infliximab as my employer had send me away so it was physically impossible for me to make it.

My condition has since got worse and I am now where I am today awaiting surgery that I had hoped would never come because I had been lucky enough to have been in remission for 14 years leading up to May 2014.

As medical professionals who know more about crohn’s disease than I ever will, do you think that actions over the last 2 years taken by my employer at the time and the intensity in which they had asked me to carry out my job, knowing full well of my condition has in fact played part in the development of the fistula that is now on my small intestine and causing my disability to worsen. 

Any insight would be grateful.

Regards  

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16 Replies

  • Posted

    Hello

    I am not a doctor but my daughter who is 27 has Crohn's disease and while on a recent vist to the hospital to see her gastrointestinal doctor I sat in the waiting room and found myself talking to this patient who happened to be a doctor as well and he asked me what my daughter was seeing the gastrointestinal doctor for and he said at her age there can only be 2 things she has either colitis or Crohn's disease and he said if it was Crohn's its definitely work related and I was amazed at how right he was because like yourself she has been stressed at work and finding it almost impossible to relax and doing shift work as well so in answer to your question yes it is work related

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  • Posted

    I am retired and only had Crohns diagnosed since 2009.  I know that if I do too much my Crohns is worse so I am sure that work would have exacerbated your condition.  I did have to have the op last December and I was vastly improved.  Unfortunately it has come back but I am still better than I was.  confused
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  • Posted

    Both my brother and I suffer from Ulcerative Colitis and we live in different counties. I say this as his Consultant  is of the opinion that it is made worse by stress and that has been proved by the job he was in and the job he is doing now.  A lot of stress has been take away although obviously he has had to forfeit money etc, but as he says his health comes first.  In my case, my consultant says that stress does not play  any part in the illness.!!!  Its funny that if I do get stressed over problems, I start with symptons.  I and my Brother are both of the opinion that stress plays a part in this illness and also what you eat.  I suggest keeping a meal diary.  It is very helpful. !!!!  Just my thoughts on the subject. Hope you sort yourself out. 
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  • Posted

    Hi Ben. I have colitis & it definately worsens if I am very stressed or have don't have enough rest/do too much- even do to many nice things, not just work. I don't know how you have coped for so long with such stress & excessive work hours. I can only work part time now maximum, & i'm still always exhausted by the end of my working week. If you have an occupational health adviser through your employer i would ask to see them as they are there for you too - they can maybe make it clear to your employer the implications they are having with your working conditions on your condition.
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  • Posted

    If you need professional advice, you should pay a visit to specialist. However, I trust specialist 50%, my own reasearch 20% and my own experience with the fluctuations of my symptoms 30% then I get conclusion that it is the cause. I now try to avoid alcohol, processed food and take pentasa. Eating sour food is the cause of Crohn's disease I believe or food allegies is the cause but stress definitely contributing a factor to it. i had no problems of eating even drinking when I was on holiday so it is stress that cause the diseases. Likely, I am having stress of life changing. I dont know whether I should retire now or wait till I get to pension age which made me having this diseases. Working too many hours, causing your hormone imbalance and your immune system work improperly. I know I have it when I work too many overtime. I have to stop now so that my body can relax and cope with my symptoms. I also use digestive enzyme. May I ask do you take any tablet for your Crohn's disease.
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    • Posted

      Hi thi20955,

      When first diagnosed i was on pentasa but later found out that this only trys to keep your crohn's at bay and when you have a flair up it is useless. I wasn't on any medication from the age of 20 till i was around 27 and since then i have been on infliximab which i have now been asked by my surgeon to stop. I am currently on paracetomol (pain), buscopan (crohn's), metronidozole (crohn's), cyclozine (for sickness), fentynol patches (pain), citalopram (happy pill) and zopiclone (sleep) which i refuse to take cause they just knock me out for the whole day after. Can't wait till i'm back down to the bare minimum.

      Hope this helps 

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  • Posted

    Ben, I think it is definitely  stress and eating sour fruit while your stomatch is empty is the cause. I know it through my own experience. When i was on holiday, nothing wrong with what I eat only when i am back to work. Getting worse since I work too many overtime. I now stop working overtime. It helps. I also take Pentasa. Do you take medication for your illness? 
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  • Posted

    I have only been dignosed 2 years ago when i was 19 (now 21) 

    But i always felt the same as you, that I am lucky compared to other people. 

    I am sorry you are not as well as you have been and I hope I can stay in remission as long as you have. I hope I never have surgery but feel it is inevitable at some point in my life. 

    Stress is definately the thing that pushes the most symptoms on me. I recently have become more low in my self and find it harder to deal with stresses in my life. 

    Happy to talk, PM me or anything when you like 

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  • Posted

    I had surgery for Crohn's 31+ years ago.  I'm sure Crohn's isn't caused by stress, but I don't handle stress sensibly when it's active.  I've always worked full time but avoided too much responsibility, hence low pay, but I was expected to handle a big work load anyway.  I'm extremely careful with my diet, have B12 injections, but try to avoid medication.  I reckon the cause of Crohn's will eventually be identified, maybe an infection that doesn't clear properly, an allergy, pesticides or chemicals used in growing our food or possibly a combination, certainly not stress.
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    • Posted

      Sorry but whilst stress is not totally to blame, it plays a big part in flare ups as proven by both my brother and myself. !!!! However I do agree with you that diet etc is another big part.
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  • Posted

    Crohns I very much doubt is caused by stress as it is usually children who first start with it.  But I am sure that when you have Crohns stress and pushing oneself too hard aggravates it.
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    • Posted

      It does not cause Crohns but stress does play a big part in flare ups. Both my brother and I monitor are ups and downs and stress and diet plays  a very big part.  My Brother's consultant is doing a thesis and has been and still is trying to get answers for all of us and he agrees that stress is partly to blame.
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    • Posted

      I think because we eat too much high processed food but I also beleive it is "the rich diseases" which means we are over eating or drinking sometimes as research says but then the cause of over eating is stress as well for we tend to eat to releive stress.
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    • Posted

      I have never been overweight but I am now underweight, I was brought up on rations and very rarely eat any processed food.
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    • Posted

      Alcohol and taking too much paracetamol as well as aspirin or other sort of those inflamatory medication also cause ulcers in the gut or Crohn diseases.
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