Monica Potter Shares a Photo of Her Bloated Abdomen to Raise Colitis Awareness
If you live with a chronic condition, your appearance may have changed as a result of your illness or the medication you’re taking to manage it. Watching your body go through changes beyond your control can be incredibly difficult, but it is also frustrating to be judged by people who aren’t fully aware of the health challenges you may be facing.
On Thursday, “Parenthood” star Monica Potter shared a photo of her stomach on Instagram, simply captioning it “I have something to share…”
While the photo initially sparked questions as to whether she is pregnant, Potter was quick to post a follow-up video, explaining that the bloating she’s experiencing is due to health concerns – not pregnancy.
“Thank you to everyone who has sent me well wishes. I’m not pregnant but wanted to shed some light on some issues we all may deal with, especially women,” Potter wrote.
Thank you to everyone who has sent me well wishes. I’m not pregnant but wanted to shed some light on some issues we all may deal with, especially women. It’s never really talked about because it’s not sexy, pretty, our glamorous to say the least, so I decided to share a photo to possibly inspire my friends (you), create a platform to share stories, and rely on each other for support and guidance. I’ve had colitis for almost 2 years and sometimes when I get flareups it’s painful and frustrating, so for all of you who suffer from colitis or other abdominal issues, please know you’re not alone. I’m going for a check up on Friday and following up with colonoscopy this month. I want to stress the importance of getting regular check-ups with your gastroenterologist or family physician. I hope this open discussion will lead to many other things we face as women, mothers, sisters, daughters, wives, and every role we take on. Take time for yourself and go get checked. Even if you’re not having issues it’s important. Please note that I am not sponsored by anyone but me – I did this on my own, and just wanted to share. That being said, a huge thank you to these foundations that are bringing awareness and guidance to all of us for better health???? #colon #colonoscopy #colitis #ulcerativecolitis #americanmedicalassociation #clevelandclinic #crohncolitisawareness #crohnsdisease #livehealthy #womenshealth #prevention #health
The actress revealed that she has been struggling with “painful and frustrating” flare-ups of colitis for almost two years. “It’s never really talked about because it’s not sexy, pretty, our glamorous to say the least,” she wrote. “I decided to share a photo to possibly inspire my friends (you), create a platform to share stories, and rely on each other for support and guidance.”
The general term “colitis” refers to inflammation of the inner lining of the colon. Potter does not specify the cause of her colitis, though it can occur as a result of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which includes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
Symptoms of colitis — such as abdominal pain, cramping and bloating — may also be familiar to anyone who has stomach issues or experiences chronic pelvic pain. When these conditions flare up, it can make your abdomen look bloated or distended, leading others to make snap judgments about your appearance. For Potter, these comments included speculation that she was pregnant.
Potter uses her platform to raise awareness of these belly issues so many women experience but may struggle to speak openly about since it’s not the most “glamorous” topic.
“I’ve had to wear adult diapers sometimes,” she admitted. “That’s not glamorous.”
Even though colonoscopies and doctor’s visits may not be the “sexiest” topic, Potter urges everyone — whether you’re experiencing intestinal symptoms or not — to find a good healthcare provider, get regular check-ups and have routine colonoscopies to check for signs of disease, including colon cancer.
Although it can sometimes be scary to open up about personal health issues and undergo testing and procedures, Potter reminds us, “For all of you who suffer from colitis or other abdominal issues, please know you’re not alone.”
Lead image courtesy of Monica Potter’s Instagram