Often midway through my sentence I notice their face. They start to squint, their eyebrows curl upwards and they force an awkward smile.
This is when I realise that I’ve gone into too much detail and overshared about my temperamental bowel and its bad behaviour. Again.
But they asked the question, so I simply answered it.
Making people feel uncomfortable and in turn making myself feel embarrassed about my misbehaving bowels has been a frequent part of my life since I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis almost three years ago.
UC is a condition that results in patches of inflammation in the colon and rectum. There is currently no known cause or cure for UC, and it can only be managed with medication, with varied lengths of time in “remission” followed by debilitating flare-ups.
These flare ups mean more embarrassing conversations, especially early on in a relationship. You have no other choice but to be completely vulnerable, to explain to a new partner that you have to shove this tablet up your rear end before you can cuddle and go to sleep, to explain that you’re bleeding from the bum again, or that you missed the toilet twice today.
Luckily, I can openly have these conversations within the comfort of my own family. My dad has become a self-proclaimed ‘poo expert’, and my younger sister who is 13 often brings home books with titles along the lines of “Healthy Bowel, Healthy Life”. My mum is also progressively getting over her instant gag reflex when someone starts talking about faeces at the dinner table.