YouTuber Hannah Witton on ulcerative colitis, stoma bags, and speaking out
"Everyone has got a poo story." Some people just aren't ready to share theirs yet.
Hannah Witton isn’t one of those people. A sex and relationships YouTuber who is no stranger to the taboo, when her Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) came back, Hannah decided that she wanted to talk about it. So she did – and millions listened.
Hannah was just seven-years-old when she was first diagnosed with ulcerative colitis.
A form of IBD, the condition causes long-term inflammation and sores inside the large intestine that can flare-up or relapse at any time.
For almost a decade, Hannah was in remission from IBD. She took regular medication and was aware of her gut health. Ulcerative colitis was something she had always known – usually in the background.
“And then I got sick,” she tells Her. “The nature of the disease is that it’s very unpredictable, so I was having a lot of flare ups.
“It wasn’t going away and I was really ill, so I had surgery and I had a stoma bag put in. That’s when I started talking about it online – to explain my absence, but also because I had found a lot of comfort in watching YouTube videos and reading blogs about other young women who were going through the same thing.
“I already had an audience myself, so I thought why not speak about it and maybe help someone who might be having a similar experience?”
It wasn’t long before Hannah began sharing blogs and videos about her experience of ulcerative colitis or, as she likes to call it: “My poo disease.”
She recently recorded an episode of Irish podcast, ‘Gutcast,’ a new show launched this week by the Irish Society for Colitis and Crohn’s Disease (ISCC) in partnership with Janssen Sciences Ireland UC.
In the episode, scheduled to be released early next month, she discusses how IBD affects her day-to-day life and how her words have helped others too.
Talking, says Hannah, has been therapeutic in more ways than one.
“In the beginning, it was so useful for me with my recovery and coming to terms with the change that had happened to my body,” she says.
“I’ve always been really grateful to hear other people’s experiences too, whether they’re got a stoma bag or some other kind of chronic illness or invisible disability. Those people tend to be more at the forefront, but then you’ll get other people who will say: ‘I’ve never heard of this before!'”