Living with IBD
Whether you are newly diagnosed or you have lived with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) for many years, it’s important to understand the possible impact of IBD on day-to-day life so you can make positive changes to manage the condition better.
Most people with IBD lead a rich and productive life. Living with either ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease means you need to balance your condition with your lifestyle: this might mean changes in diet, lifestyle and also your relationships.
Having IBD can sometimes affect many different aspects of your life. Even if you feel relatively ‘well’ most of the time, a chronic condition can sometimes feel overwhelming. You may also feel worried about things such as the effect of the either ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease on your personal and social life, on your ability to study and work, as well as the potential financial implications.
You may be wondering if you need to tell your partner, friends, teachers, employer and colleagues. Or you may be coping with the practical challenges of going out in public and needing access to toilets. On a personal level, relationships, having a partner, getting married, having children and raising a family are all valid concerns.
One of the most important things you can do is understand all you can about your illness and be involved in your care. Working with your doctor to make decisions and address your concerns will give you back a feeling of control. It is most helpful if you talk openly and honestly about any concerns you may have, and ask questions along the way if there is something you don’t understand or if an answer is unclear.
The following sections will take you through from diagnosis:
- Coping with IBD
- Telling friends and family
- Relationships - intimacy
- Managing the condition through healthy lifestyle changes
- Travelling with IBD
- Working with IBD
- Information for employers
You may also want to try our IBD Wellbeing Tool to see how well you are managing with your IBD and get some personalised tips to help you.
Having IBD may mean that you have to make adjustments to your lifestyle but should not stop you from leading a fulfilling and productive life.