The Top Inflammatory Bowel Disease Misconceptions Debunked
Hi, I’m Jess. I’ve got IBD, and I run my own business. It took guts to come out and share my battle with Crohn's disease. I was scared people wouldn’t want to work with me or be discouraged by how open I was about my health journey online. Being a small business owner with many health issues opened my eyes to the misconceptions! Here’s a pic of me with my actual best friend, my YuYu! (so good for pain management!)
So today, I’m stopping the madness by debunking the most common myths associated with having inflammatory bowel disease.
1. You are what you eat… right?
Note to anyone reading this, please don’t comment on my diet. Now here are some facts:
Diet alone does not cause IBD, and no proven diet controls inflammation.
“Living with Crohn’s or Colitis can mean making some changes to your diet. You may need to avoid certain foods to help your symptoms, or take extra care to make sure you’re getting the right nutrients. There’s no single diet that works for everyone – but this information will help you understand how food affects your condition, so you can make the choices that are right for you.”
I have some trigger foods (meat, dairy, anything high fibre, alcohol), but although I avoid them like the plague, I STILL flare.
I can flare after eating white toast, and it’s usually not the food for me, and it’s just my gut throwing a wobbly because of my active IBD. That’s it.
2. It can’t feel worse than trapped wind…
I WISH it felt like trapped wind. Yes, trapped wind is awful, but it doesn’t come close to an IBD cramp.
As humans, we try to understand each other by comparing our situations, but honestly, I get offended when I describe the pain I feel daily, and it gets compared to something like trapped wind.
Trapped wind passes.
Trapped wind is temporary.
IBD is forever.
I used to say to myself, “all pain is relative, " and we can compare our worst pain to others.
I now take back that statement.
If we ever chat about pain, let’s agree that we can never compare pain scales because we both have no idea what the other feels. It doesn’t mean we can't empathise with each other; it just means we shouldn’t compare.
3. IBD only affects your tummy.
I have daily symptoms from my active inflammation, which doesn’t mean “just a tummy ache”. Not in the slightest.
Here, in no particular order, are my common IBD symptoms;
- Mouth Ulcers
- Sore butt (fistula)
- Generalised full-body pain
- Localised pain (tummy)
- Weight gain
- Weight loss
- Mild cramping
- Extreme cramping
- Blood loss in stool
- Low Iron
- Mental health struggles (coping with all the above)
These are just my symptoms. So many IBD patients report even more (eye swelling, skin irritation etc..).
I think people assume IBD is just stomach issues because it’s the most visible symptom. You can physically see someone running to the toilet or how bloated their tummy is (if they show you), and IBD is so much more than stomach issues.
- If someone shares that they have IBD with you, please don’t give them advice unless they ask.
- Everyone’s IBD journey is different.
- Just because your know someone with IBD, it doesn’t mean you understand every case.
This blog is just my personal experience. If you have any questions about IBD, I recommend visiting https://crohnsandcolitis.org.uk/.
If you’d like to chat, you can find me on IG - @jessica.sophia.bruno
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