6 Common Misconceptions Associated with IBD
Like with any condition, there are common myths & misconceptions that come with it and IBD is no different. Here are 6 general misconceptions about Inflammatory Bowel Disease:
1. IBD and IBS are the same.
While both Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Irritable Bowel Syndrome deal with abdominal pain, diarrhea, bloating etc., they are not the same. Many people easily confuse the two and truly do not understand the difference. IBD is characterized by chronic inflammation of the digestive tract and IBS is characterized as a functional gastrointestinal disorder. In summary, IBS does not cause physical damage on the intestine nor show up on a colonoscopy, however IBD does cause physical inflammation and is visible during a colonoscopy.
2. IBD is the result of stress.
Recent studies have shown that your IBD is not caused by stress. Like with most conditions, stress may trigger a flare up of your IBD symptoms. Nevertheless, reducing stress can most definitely lead to a higher quality of life.
3. You can have both Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis.
As state in our previous blog, “Similarities and Differences between Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis”, there are key differences between Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis. Medically, you cannot be diagnosed with both at the same time.
4. Diet will work as a cure.
Just like there is no evidence that food causes IBD, there is no specific diet that is a cure for IBD. Unfortunately, there is no cure. That being said, changing your diet may help reduce inflammation but will not heal the gut. Usually those with IBD create their own diet, which typically avoids foods that worsen their symptoms.
5. You can stop medications when you feel better.
If your doctor has you taking certain medications for your Crohn’s or UC, you need to continue to take them until you talk to your doctor about getting off of them. Let’s say you are on a medication, you start feeling better and you feel like you are ready to get off it, that medication could be the reason you are feeling better and therefore you need to continue to take it. This is yet another reason why it is so important to have a good relationship with your doctors so you are able to communicate with them.
6. If you have IBD you will never lead a ‘normal’ life.
You can absolutely lead a fairly ‘normal’ life and still have Ulcerative Colitis or Crohn’s Disease. When you first get diagnosed with IBD you may have to make some adjustments to your life. These lifestyle changes to your diet, exercise and stress level are crucial for managing your IBD. Having said that, you can still do activities that you enjoy!