Blood Transfusions, Donating and IBD
If you know you are the same blood type, should you donate blood for a loved one with Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis?
The short answer is YES because even if they don’t end up needing it, another patient will receive it so you are doing good no matter how you look at it.
Do patients with Crohns Disease or Ulcerative Colitis Need Blood Transfusions Often?
It greatly depends on the severity of the disease. I have had four in total. As a side note, I never needed one after any of my surgeries although my dad did donate beforehand just in case.
When disease is active, a lot of patients with inflammatory bowel disease experience blood loss. Sometimes, this can be enormous amounts of blood. Not to be gross but when I was flaring, I would go into the bathroom and just pee out of my behind non stop. To say it is unbearable and took its toll on your overall body would be an understatement.
Complications come up far too frequently for Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis patients. This can cause infections or issues with other organs, among many other things. Patients who require blood transfusions often, are on a lot of medication that needs to be administered intravenously, who need frequent blood drawn, are on TPN, have terrible veins, etc etc may be given a picc line, central line or a port.
While I believe the benefits have greatly outweighed the risks for me when I had to use those forms of an IV, that isn’t always the case which unfortunately can lead to problems throughput the body.
If I was eligible to donate blood and I knew someone with Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis, I would ask them or their family if it may be needed. They can only keep it for so many days and like I said, it will go to someone else in need. Prior to surgery is time when people like to have it on reserve and knowing it came from a loved one can be a comforting feeling. But also, when a person is flaring..and flaring badly.. a blood transfusion becomes a real possibility.
Point being, just ask
I know for me, the times it was people I knew who were the donors, I did have a sense of comfort. The one done on an emergency basis was from someone I had never met. And I just remember thinking how I hope there weren’t tons of diseases in that blood of a stranger. They obviously test it all first, it is perfectly safe, and this was clearly just my mind running.
It is also nice to know other people care; especially when you can get into so many situations for a wide range of reasons with inflammatory bowel disease that lead you to feel so isolated from the world.