Travelling With Crohns Disease

 The Definition – Crohn’s Disease: Crohn’s Disease is a condition that causes inflammation of the digestive system. Inflammation is the body’s reaction to injury or irritation, and can cause Ulcers, redness, swelling and pain. It’s actually named after a doctor who suddenly reported a few cases back in 1932.

Crohn’s Disease to me – a big fat pain in the arse. You can take that as literally as you like. There is nothing sexy, attractive or nice about Crohn’s disease, it just is what it is.  I was diagnosed after a year of playing ping pong with hospital consultants and local GPs. Endless delightful tests such as colonoscopies, MRIs, x-rays, biopsies and so on finally determined that I in-fact had Crohn’s Disease mainly effecting the Ileum (lower part of the bowel).

Ice Cream in Girona

It all began following a trip to India where I had been one of the lucky ones ‘not’ to endure the mandatory ‘Delhi Belly’. I felt great the whole time, I loved the food and I didn’t care about jumping in rivers like some of the others. On the return journey, however, all the troubles began and it would seem that the trip had likely been a trigger to activate my disease. Some people will have it their whole lives and it will only appear at an older age – if only! At 18 years old I was suddenly unable to work, leave the house, or pretty much do anything thanks to the constant abdominal pain, the endless trips to the bathroom, throwing up after food and many more side effects. People don’t tell you that you’ll most likely lose all dignity within the first few months of this disease!

Cycling in Barcelona

I, however, am not the best at listening to doctors. I will of course try to get better as best I can and follow medication, but I am not willing to give up my travel and lifestyle for the disease. There are lots of people that will let it totally consume them, and during a flare-up I can see why. It’s absolutely agonizing and you don’t often feel like there is a light at the end of the tunnel – temporarily. I intend from now on to document a little more about my travelling with Crohns because there are lots of doctors that said I shouldn’t travel, or even take a two week vacation. Stubborn as it sounds – that’s just not me. Like most health issues, having Crohn’s isn’t fair, it’s taken a lot of my early 20s in a different direction, it’s affected my weight in both ways and I am not about to let it take away my passion for travel or food!

Cookery classes in Prague

Only someone with Crohn’s or IBS can understand how it feels when….

  • The ‘Seatbelt’ sign comes on just as you are about to use the bathroom.
  • You realise the gorgeous European street cafe doesn’t have a toilet facility whilst you are halfway through your Bruschetta.
  • You need to ask the person sat in the aisle seat to move for the 8th time on this flight.
  • You try and ask the waiter in broken English ‘Is this dish spicy?’, knowing how that will affect you!!
  • Wearing baggy kaftans over the bikini is the only option to hide the bloated stomach after lunch.
  • Getting up so early just to allow time for breakfast to settle before setting out for a day trip

 …..and I could go on and on.

Traditional Turkish Dining


Firstly you should really be a member of (or the relative charity in your country). They have great impartial advice and also work with medical professionals to have their website updated by the experts. It’s very little to become a member and they cover all aspects of living with Crohn’s & Colitis – also it’s all for charity!

My second recommendation is to sign up to This is a website created by IBD Nurse Kay Greveson, from a London Hospital, for those traveling with the disease. It can offer a lot of information, more specifically on where to find help in different countries, having researched and gathered information from across the world they know most international guidelines for those suffering with IBD. You need to sign up with your information, but it is kept private and not used with any third parties. It’s also free so why the hell not?!

Malaysian Breakfast



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