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How Fitness has helped me cope with Inflammatory Bowel Disease.


Posted by Doug L under Nutrition on 14 October 2014 at 11:00 PM

Doug Leddin Training

JUNE 11 2012 is a date I will probably never forget.

It lives in the memory because this was the day the pain started, a pain I would be forced to get to know from that day on.

That was a Monday; it took until Thursday to go to the doctor after waking up with my stomach bloated, the pain even worse than before, like a hand moving in and around my stomach, clenching at organs and slowly releasing. Later that day I would find out I had IBD and that my life from this point on would change. 

I spent the next year in and out of hospitals, visiting numerous Doctors and enjoying about 150 tablets per week. During the first year I was also involved in a serious car accident where a 24ft truck rear ended me into a roundabout, it turned out the driver was 8 times over the legal drinking limit. I was lucky to be alive but that didn't make it any easier, I was just coming off my steroid dose for the IBD and found out I had Hip labral tears and had to undergo surgery and go back on steroids again. This upset me the most because as a result of the IBD I no longer got to drink alcohol but the individual of the truck was and had abused his right.  

Each person is impacted in different ways from IBD and with different levels of pain. For me it means no alcohol, which, to be honest, I found so tough and still do. No pasta/bread/rice/potatoes. Excessive sugar intake is torture and a lot of other things affect me and my list is still growing.Doug before and afterFor IBD sufferers your stomach rules your life.How your day is going to go, how a holiday will be, what your dinner will consist of and how much energy you will have. It’s a constant pain that I have to try keep at bay every day.

As a result of the IBD, I suffer from lack of energy some days, excessive energy on others, poor sleep, excessive pain from standing too long, bloated from eating too fast - irregular toilet movements from time to time, constant monitoring of food and so many other things; the list just goes on and on.

It’s a condition that rules my day-to-day life and how I face it will decide whose life I’m going to live, my stomachs or mine. 

I chose mine but how? 

30 minutes of exercise is described as taking a mild anti-depressant, so I decided there was no harm in trying and I took up running. It helps me focus my mind and to reach my goals, it helps me keep my weight down, I also go to the gym about five times a week, even if its just for thirty minutes it just helps decrease any bloating and keeps my mind focused. 

Doug Leddin running

For IBD sufferers anything that helps is so beneficial, when I train I wear my Tribesports clothing that I got after backing them on Kickstarter in August 2013 before my Dublin City Marathon. The fit is extremely comfortable and the waist band on the shorts is relaxed. I don't feel trapped in tight layers which helps me a huge amount. Tribesports have been very supportive of me and so many others. 

Doug Leddin Training

Running and general exercise, along with a change in eating habits, has left me in a much better place physically and a more mentally stable position as well. But, most importantly, it has helped me to reduce my flare ups and pains and allowed me to live as much of a normal life as I can ask for. 

A year on and I have completed Two Half Marathons, Numerous 10km runs and the Dublin City Marathon. I’m now training for the Las Vegas Half Marathon, which I am proudly doing for the ISCC in November, in order to raise much needed funds for ISCC but also to raise as much awareness as possible for IBD AND IBS. We live in a society that has information so freely accessible, that I hope this goal will not be hard to achieve.

For those who would like to support you can visit the donation page on

Fitness has really helped me and I hope it can help you too. It's not easy but it can be done and I’m by no means fine but I’m better than I was yesterday and I’ll be even more so tomorrow.

  • Encourage

    encouraged this.



    Thanks for sharing your story Doug. The stomach and digestion is key to our lives and appears to be an organ/system that seems to be under the spotlight for causing numerous problems to us, certainly in the last few decades. Our changing diet no doubt has an effect (I mean on the population as a whole) but it's great to hear how exercise and running appears to be helping with your condition. Good luck in Vegas

    Amanda C encouraged this.


    awesome story and a testament to the power of the human spirit. Lots of luck to you

    Amanda C encouraged this.


    Thanks for sharing your story Doug. I do have some indigestion problems and should really look into some more info about IBS/IBD. Good luck in Las Vegas and towards your future. :)


    You are really great person, Doug L, and I'm glad that you did not give up and overcome all the pain. Your story remind me life story of my old friend, who have twice broke his leg in one place and the doctors said he could never regain the right motion of his leg and could never going in for sports again. But he do not give up, and independently began work on himself and, as a result, now he runs a lot and has excellent physical shape! You inspire me to write some story for my blog. Wish you all the best!

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