(What are Crohn's & Colitis and how to manage them)

Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, collectively known as Inflammatory Bowel disease (IBD), affect millions of people worldwide. These conditions are characterised by chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, leading to various symptoms and complications. While the exact causes of IBD are still unknown, it is believed to be the result of a complex interplay between genetic, environmental, and immunological factors. Diet, smoking, and exposure to certain toxins may also play a role.


IBD is known to be an autoimmune disease, which means that the immune system attacks your own healthy cells and tissues, causing long-term, chronic inflammation.

One of the key characteristics of IBD is a chronic inflammation of the various organs in the gastrointestinal system, resulting in damage to the intestines or stomach and various health complications. The inflammation can cause abdominal pain, diarrhoea, rectal bleeding, weight loss, and many other symptoms. Patients with IBD also experience fatigue, joint pain, skin problems, and other related conditions.


The physical and social consequences of IBD can be significant. The chronic nature of the disease, along with the unpredictable nature of flare-ups, make it difficult for patients to maintain a normal daily routine. This can lead to missed work or school, social isolation and feeling self-conscious. Irrespective of disease severity, IBD patients struggle with anxiety, depression, body image and accepting a different way of life full of limitations.


Despite these challenges, there is hope for those living with IBD. Recent advances in research have led to new treatments that can effectively manage symptoms and improve quality of life. For example, biological therapies, which target specific components of the immune system, have been shown to be effective in inducing remission.


One of the most important treatment pathways for IBD is lifestyle changes. While medication can reduce an acute flare-up, it’s the small daily interventions that help in achieving long-lasting remission. 

Diet plays a huge role in the maintenance of remission, however, the tricky bit is that each patient will have its own unique needs. Some patients will have to avoid foods rich in fibre, some will need them daily in abundance. What is common for everyone is taking care of gut health by eliminating processed foods, consuming a variety of whole foods and including probiotics. You can learn more practical tips on how to make your gut happy here.

Regular exercise, stress management techniques, such as meditation and yoga, and support from the community – are also very important on the IBD healing journey. Some of the flare-ups can be easily triggered by stressful situations at home or work, which are hard to avoid. Learning to navigate the stressful environment through therapy can also majorly improve your life with IBD.

Remember that you are not alone in this and that there are people and resources available to help you heal both physically and mentally.



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