Inflammatory Bowel Diseases Myths Debunked

inflammatory bowel disease

Myths Debunked

There are two types of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD): ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. These diseases, as the name implies, cause inflammation in the upper (esophagus, stomach, and small intestine) or lower (colon) gastrointestinal tract. IBD is sometimes confused with IBS, which has similar symptoms but is an entirely different disorder. IBS patients do not have intestinal inflammation. Although there is no cure for IBD, proper care and treatment can help patients reduce symptoms and avoid complications.

1. Inflammatory bowel disease is caused by nerves.

Facts: There is no evidence that stress or emotions can cause Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. Some people confuse IBD with IBS, which was previously known as spastic colitis and can be triggered by stress. Though the symptoms are similar, IBD is a distinct disease characterized by intestine inflammation.

2. Some people are predisposed to IBD.

Facts: The underlying cause of IBD is biological rather than emotional. IBD was thought to be part of a group of medical disorders associated with certain personality traits and a specific natural predisposition about 50 years ago. According to the most recent research, this is not the case. In fact, previous studies concluded that psychoanalysis worsened ulcerative colitis cases because no other treatment was available.

3. There is no treatment available for IBD.

Facts: While there is no cure for IBD, a gastroenterologist who specializes in IBD can work with you to find treatments that will reduce IBD symptoms and prevent complications, which may include medication, dietary changes, and/or surgery, depending on the severity of your condition.

available ibd treatments

4. I have Crohn's disease as well as ulcerative colitis.

Facts: You have Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. While these diseases are very similar in many ways, they cannot coexist. Both conditions cause intestine inflammation and may produce similar symptoms.

5. Surgical procedures should be avoided.

Facts: Many IBD patients can control their symptoms with medication and a healthy diet. Surgery can be an effective treatment option for patients who are unable to find relief through medication. A patient with ulcerative colitis who has active symptoms despite medication may benefit from a surgical procedure such as bowel resection. Temporary ostomy (temporary diversion) is a surgical option for patients with a severe, refractory perianal disease or rectal Crohn’s disease who may benefit only from complete bowel rest.

6. You must discontinue all medications while pregnant.

Facts: When taking medication during pregnancy, extreme caution should always be exercised. A flare-up of IBD symptoms during pregnancy, on the other hand, can endanger both the mother and the baby. There is limited controlled data on the safety of drugs used to treat IBD during pregnancy; however, recently published studies suggest that their use may not be harmful. Furthermore, by controlling the timing of medication administration, exposure and risk to the fetus can be reduced. Your doctor can assist you in weighing the benefits and risks of taking IBD medication while pregnant. If you are taking methotrexate, you must stop taking it before becoming pregnant.

7. You can discontinue your medications once you feel better.

Facts: Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are both chronic inflammatory diseases. Medications typically alleviate symptoms. You will experience a disease flare if you stop taking your medication, even if you have been in remission for several years. The long-term natural course of IBD has shown that patients who stopped taking their medication had a high recurrence rate. Continue to take your medicine even if you feel fine!

medications for chronic inflammatory diseases

8. I have IBD because I overeat junk food.

Facts: A “bad diet” or eating too much junk food does not cause IBD. Some foods can exacerbate symptoms and make you feel worse. It’s a good idea to keep track of what you eat and see if any foods cause specific symptoms. Symptom tracking software can help you with this.

9. Because I have IBD, a little blood in my stools is normal.

Facts: Bleeding is never acceptable, even if it is minor. Stool bleeding is frequently a sign of active inflammation or another complication, such as an anal fissure or hemorrhoid. If you notice blood in your stools, contact your doctor.

10. Diet can help to alleviate symptoms.

Facts: Inflammatory bowel diseases are caused by an unbalanced immune response. The body continuously sends the signal to promote inflammation by releasing TNF-. TNF-blockers are medications that can interrupt this signal and stop the inflammation. Avoiding specific foods will not achieve this, which is why there is no recommended diet for IBD patients.

Living with Crohn’s or Colitis may necessitate dietary changes. You may need to avoid certain foods to alleviate your symptoms, or you may need to take extra precautions to ensure you’re getting enough nutrients. There is no one-size-fits-all diet, but this information will help you understand how food affects your condition so you can make the best choices for yourself.

11. IBD only affects the stomach.

Facts: If you are having active inflammation causes daily symptoms which do not equate to “just a tummy ache.” Not in the least.

My common IBD symptoms are listed below in no particular order;

  • Fatigue
  • Bloating
  • Ulcers in the Mouth
  • Buttock ache (fistula)
  • Generalized pain throughout the body
  • Pain in one area (tummy)
  • Gaining weight
  • Loss of weight
  • Minor cramping
  • Unbearable cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Stool blood loss
  • Iron deficiency
  • Struggles with mental health 

These are simply my symptoms. Many IBD patients report even more symptoms (eye swelling, skin irritation, etc..).

Because it is the most visible symptom, we believe people assume IBD is only about stomach problems. You can see someone running to the toilet or how bloated their stomach is (if they show you), and IBD is much more than stomach problems.


These were a few myths about Inflammatory Bowel Disease that we have just cleared. Takes these important takeaways when you find a person suffering from IBD:

  • If someone tells you they have Inflammatory Bowel Disease, don’t give them advice unless they ask.
  • Everyone’s Inflammatory Bowel Disease journey is unique.
  • Simply because you know someone who has Inflammatory Bowel Disease does not mean you understand every case.

What do you think?

Written by Shivam Pal

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