Choosing whether to tell colleagues

If you do decide to tell an employer or prospective employer about your IBD, you may not wish it to become public knowledge. You also need to decide if and what you are going to tell your co-workers. Again, there can be advantages in letting others know about your IBD. If fellow staff know that you have a long term condition and what it means, they are more likely to give you the support and assistance you need, helping to create a better working environment.

If they don’t know, they may draw the wrong conclusions or believe you are getting preferential treatment if your employer makes adjustments for you. Being more open could also mean that you wouldn’t, for example, have to hide taking your medication or that you have painful stomach cramps.

It is common for people to feel embarrassed when talking about bowel movements, so you may find it difficult to explain your symptoms, especially urgency and the frequent need to rush to the toilet.

Explaining that IBD is not infectious is often particularly helpful, as this may be a concern. It may also be useful to make it clear that IBD is different from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).