What people with IBD should know

I am often asked, “What would you tell someone recently diagnosed with IBD?” So, this is what I think you should know! Look out for clickable links in this blog, leading to more detailed information! For many, a definitive diagnosis is a massive relief after a long period of being unwell. This does not mean that acceptance is easy, after all, you have just been diagnosed with a chronic disease which has no cure. Do NOT panic, we’ve got this, life is not over! It is worth pointing out that no two IBD patients’ lives are the same. The disease does not always manifest in the same way, and the fact that a treatment works for one person does not mean it will work for another. This makes IBD notoriously difficult to treat. That said, some IBD patients may have one flare, find the right medication straight away and never have another, and that is fantastic! For the rest of us, being diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis may mean some lifestyle changes and som

Self-care series | What your body needs

We all know that getting, and staying active is good for you, so if you are able to exercise daily, DO! I’m not here to preach to you about what you must do. The fact is, not everyone with IBD is able to do regular physical activity. This may be due to fatigue or joint problems, or a whole array of other extra-intestinal manifestations that are common in IBD. It may even be due to a completely different illness as there are many that are associated with Crohn’s or Colitis.
If you have no problems exercising, I urge you to take a look at the NHS’s Physical activity guidelines for:

If exercise is difficult, but not impossible, consider some low impact activity such as tai chi, Pilates, yoga or swimming. Don’t forget that things like vacuuming the house, carrying shopping and cleaning the car all count!

Sleep is majorly important. We all know that we’re supposed to rack up 8 hours a night, and the chronically ill could likely use a bit more than that, but it’s not always possible. Pain, toilet trips and side effects from medications such as insomnia all play havoc with sleeping patterns. Whilst sleep won't help with fatigue, it is important for your body and mind to recover and function properly. When you sleep, your thoughts and actions from that day are essentially processed and filed. If you do miss sleep at night, grab a nap when you need to!

Making a conscious effort to listen to what your body is telling you it needs will do you the world of good. I talk from personal experience, as I spent years being hugely stubborn when it came to rest, thinking that if I could just push myself that little bit further, it would eventually become easy. It didn’t, and it was only when I lost 16 months of my life to chronic fatigue that I realised the world wouldn’t stop turning without me. It didn’t matter if I didn’t hoover every day and no-one thought badly of me for skipping Facebook for a few days at a time.

REST when your body and mind tell you that you need to!

Obviously, a large part of keeping your body healthy is also dependent on what you put in it. That is a little too large to add here, so check the next blog in the self-care series: What you put in your body matters - eating and drinking with IBD!