osteoporosis or eye damage in some patients,
they are now used sparingly to quell flare-ups.
“It’s important for people to realize there’s
a risk [associated with] not taking medications, which far exceeds the risk of the medications themselves,” says Dr. Kerman, adding
that new, promising medications are already
in the pipeline and awaiting approval from
the Food and Drug Administration.
Researchers are studying whether a low-fiber diet may help during flare-ups specifically. To date, there’s not one evidence-based
article that says changing your diet in any way,
shape or form, other than eating healthy, is
helpful for preventing flares or keeping IBD in
remission. But experts hope to soon publish
research on nutritional and dietary therapies
they’ve employed with success.
BREAKING THE SILENCE
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 59
The brown and red ribbon
WHEN COSTCO MEMBER Lois
Fink was first diagnosed with
Crohn’s disease at age 17, the
last thing she wanted to do
was talk about it. Now 64,
Fink has made it her mis-
sion to get people talking
about IBD and the ostomy surgery
some IBD patients like her go through. To
that end, Fink and another Costco member
and Crohn’s patient, Barb Wodzin, created a
ribbon to bring awareness to both issues and
break the ice on these often taboo subjects.
The ribbon color represents the byprod-
uct of the disease; the red “gem” in the mid-
dle represents the ostomy. “We realized there
was an element of humor to it,” says Fink.
The ribbon’s tagline: “It’s More Than a
Ribbon ... It’s a Movement!”
Since launching their magnetic ribbon
bbnow.org) in February 2011, Washington-
state residents Fink and Wodzin have
received ribbon orders from hundreds of IBD
patients in the United States and around the
world, including Australia, England, Canada,
Malta and New Zealand.
The ribbon already has celebrity backing
in Mike McCready, lead guitarist for Pearl Jam,
who was diagnosed with Crohn’s at age 21.
Last September, the Wound, Ostomy and
Continence Nurses Society also formally recognized the ribbon, and Fink hopes to get more
doctors and nurses wearing it on their lapels.
“It was long overdue,” says Fink. “I just
went with a gut feeling that I had.”—RC
A future with IBD
There’s currently no cure for IBD. In both
adults and children, the disease proves an elusive target, changing or growing quickly and
frequently with damaging consequences. Up
to 50 percent of Crohn’s patients and 20 to 30
percent of colitis patients will eventually
Aside from the physical manifestations,
the emotional toll on IBD patients can be
enormous. Advocacy organizations like the
Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America
www.ccfa.org) offer numerous ways
for patients and their families to get the sup-
port they need.
www.ritacolorito.com, specializes in writing about health.
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