20 ‘Embarrassing’ Symptoms of Autoimmune Disease We Don’t Talk About

Autoimmune diseases come in a variety of shapes and forms, each affecting different organs and bodily systems (for instance, Crohn’s disease primarily affects the gastrointestinal tract, while rheumatoid arthritis primarily affects the joints). Although each disease has a unique M.O., those with autoimmune conditions may struggle with many of the same frustrating and undesirable symptoms and side effects that can occur when the body mistakenly attacks its own healthy cells.

There’s no reason to feel ashamed of any of the symptoms you experience, but it can still be embarrassing when your body behaves in ways that are totally out of your control. Maybe a flare-up has caused a number of unsightly physical symptoms to emerge (between eye infections and skin lesions, story of my life!), or maybe you have to suddenly excuse yourself from an important work meeting and race to the bathroom – because once that train starts rolling, there’s no stopping it.

While it may be difficult to talk about the less-than-glamorous symptoms autoimmune diseases can produce, being honest and open about the many ways they can affect someone is an important step toward raising awareness. That’s why we asked our Mighty community to share some of the “embarrassing” symptoms they’ve experienced due to autoimmune disease – symptoms we may not talk about often, but ones that deserve recognition and understanding nonetheless.

Even though the symptoms of your condition (as well as some side effects of medication) may be totally out of your control, it can still be challenging to grapple with the physical, emotional and cognitive effects. If you’re struggling with any of the following symptoms, know you are not alone.

1. Brain Fog/Memory Issues

Inability to communicate and use words appropriately. I think of something I want to say and by the time it should cross my lips (like within seconds) I can’t remember a key word or phrase which would have applied. This can happen all day long or randomly. My word recall is mostly absent.” – Llana H.

My memory issues. They wreak havoc on everything from my ability to go places to my ability to recall names of people and things, dates, etc. It’s humiliating.” – Stacy C.

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