Support You’ll “Like”

Posted: Nov 15 in Surgery Blog tagged by Staff

How social media can help during treatment for chronic conditions like IBD and GERD

Find support beyond your general surgeon on social media

It can be lonely living with a chronic condition. When you suffer from an ailment like Crohn’s disease or GERD, symptoms can go on for days, weeks and months without ceasing. Though friends and family members may sympathize with your plight, they may not fully understand the things you’re going through, and this can make it feel like you have no one to turn to.

Though you can rest assured that your general surgeon in Ft. Myers will help you overcome your condition, it won’t be possible for him to offer support every day. Living with your symptoms will be much easier if you have someone else to talk to about your struggle, but your chances of running into and starting a relationship with another random Crohn’s sufferer are low. There are tens of thousands of others who live with the same condition you do, so how do you find and connect with them?

Reach Out Online

The internet plays an increasingly important role in our 21st century lives. We often turn to the web for answers to our questions, but also to entertain ourselves and socialize, tweeting, sharing, liking and linking to our hearts’ content. You might already use the web to find medical information and connect with others, but what if you could fulfill both needs in one place?

Sites like Crohnology are trying to answer this question, offering a venue for sufferers of Crohn’s disease to come together and talk about their experiences. Crohnology helps you track your symptoms, find other user-recommended treatments and meet people all over the world who struggle with the same problems you do. The site is still in beta testing, but many users have already used it to start discussions and find answers to difficult questions.

Though Crohnology is focused on one specific ailment, the concept of social media support can be applied to just about any ailment. Facebook is full of groups aimed at combating specific problems. Communities form around anti-reflux cookbooks, cancer-fighting organizations, weight loss surgeons and just about everything else you can think of, making it easy to find like-minded people no matter who or where you are.

By bringing people together, these platforms can help those with chronic conditions feel more in control and informed about their struggles. The heightened interaction and discussion can help you learn more about what you’re dealing with and vent your frustrations to those who can relate. Ideally, the increased use of social media will help patients get more involved in their own treatment. Just remember that not everything you see will be accurate—so be sure to check with your general surgeon before making any changes to your treatment plan.

Have you used social media find information or support for a chronic condition? Share your experiences and favorite sites in the comments below!

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