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Navigating College With a Digestive Health Condition or Disease

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Living with a gastrointestinal condition can be stressful enough. As a college student in a new and unfamiliar environment, you may be worried about how to balance your condition with this next phase of your life.

Yale New Haven Health’s Digestive Health experts offer tips for navigating through college with a gastrointestinal condition or disease.

Research School Resources 

Reach out to your school’s disability office to find out what support they can provide, and if they require documentation. Also, learn what your campus offers in terms of mental health support, and other resources that are important for your well-being.

Talk to Professors

What you choose to disclose is completely up to you. However, it may be helpful to have open communication with professors as to why you may need to step out or miss classes.

Know Your Health System

If you’re moving far from home, you may need to establish care with a new team of providers. Check to see how your insurance coverage works where you are moving. Know where you can access emergency care and regular visits.

Schedule Time for Your Wellness

When schedules get busy it can be easy to forget to care for yourself. Identify times during the week when you can focus on your wellness and self-care.

Location, Location, Location

When you are exploring campus, identify where the bathrooms are in the buildings you’ll be frequenting. It also helps to grab an aisle seat in class so you can leave as needed.

Plan Around Stress

College can be a stressful time. Take steps to reduce stressors where you can. Try not to overload your schedule with difficult courses all at once and be mindful of timing of classes so you can rest.

Have Fun and Be Well

College is a great time to have fun and make friends. At the same time be mindful of what your body needs in terms of sleep, nutrition and movement. Continue practicing a good diet and reducing behaviors that impact your symptoms (like all-nighters or partying).

Be Kind to Your Mind

It’s normal to feel like eyes are on you when you get up in class, or your stomach gurgles. Remember to practice self-compassion and remind yourself that others are wrapped up in their own worlds, just like you are, and likely aren’t even paying attention.

Stress can lead to flare ups and make your symptoms worse. It's important to remember that you aren't alone. Reach out and try to find support and resources.

Learn more about how Yale New Haven Health’s Digestive Health service line treats a variety of gastrointestinal conditions and disease.