Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) are two separate conditions that are often mistaken for one another. There are two main forms of IBD: Crohn's Disease, which can cause inflammations of all sections in the entire digestive tract and Ulcerative Colitis, an inflammation limited to the colon. They leave permanent damage to the tissue and increase the risk of colorectal cancer. While IBS, a functional disorder of the digestive system, does not fulfill these criteria, some of its symptoms such as diarrhea and intense stomach cramps can overlap with those of IBD, which may lead some to the common misconception that these diseases are the same.
Despite the differences between the illnesses, people living with one or the other face very similar challenges: The anxiety of having an unpredictable diarrhea attack follows patients wherever they go. Running simple errands can quickly turn into feeling like running a gauntlet. Debilitating pain adds to the discomfort of always having to know where the next toilet is. To make things worse, the symptoms of IBD and IBS, and thereby the conditions, are largely a taboo topic in society, driving those affected into isolation.
This stigma is one key driver of side effects like anxiety or depression, and it affects many: According to the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation, up to 1.6 million people in the US live with IBD. In the UK the estimate amounts 300,000 IBD patients. For IBS, as many as 10-15% of the population of western countries are estimated to live with it.
More and more people are starting to speak openly about their life with IBD and IBS. On their blogs they share everything, be it facts on the condition, their personal approach to managing IBD or IBS symptoms or their experience with IBD treatment. These blogs are inspiration to many and are an important contribution for putting end to stigmatizing health conditions to a point where they are often perceived as invisible by others. We selected 19 outstanding blogs written by people living with IBD or IBS. Make sure to check them out.
Are we missing one of your favorite blogs? Please let us know in the comment section below.
A Guy with Crohn’s
Jeffrey is a true gut vet: Suffering from Crohn’s since 1989, he spent his entire adulthood battling the illness. On his blog he tackles misconceptions about IBD and shares the extensive knowledge he has gathered in all these years.
Ali on the Run
Writing, dancing and most importantly running are multi-talent Ali’s biggest passions – and she will not let her Crohn’s keep her from living them. Find out more about her encouraging journey here:
When her colon “declared war” on Amber, the purple Colitis Ninja was born. “Before long I noticed that the little ninja didn’t just help me, but many others learn how to cope with IBD. Our strength comes from our battles, and this is something to be admired not pitied.”
Girl in Healing
“I know what goes through a person’s mind when it feels like nothing you do is helping.” Adjusting her diet as well as environmental circumstances helped Alexa ease her Crohn’s symptoms and flare-ups. While pointing out that sometimes a conventional medical treatment is necessary, she supplies readers with tips that she has tried out herself.
Gutless and Glamorous
Post-surgery, Gaylyn struggled with self-acceptance and getting used to her new ileostomy. But after realizing that “anything that has the power to save a life can be nothing but beautiful”, she started the #gutlessandglamorous initiative which aims for a wider IBD awareness and education.
Heal me in the kitchen
The pharmaceutical route didn’t do enough for Astrid and her Colitis. “I still feel the kitchen is where my healing began”, says the artist and kitchen scientist who offers tasty Paleo Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) and Nutritional Ketosis inspired recipes on her website.
How to eat (when you can’t eat anything at all)
IBD and IBS are often closely linked to food sensitivities. Tory’s blog is “all about finding ways to make delicious food even if there are LOADS of things you can’t eat and you actually think your life might be over because you can’t just eat what you want (which, in my case, used to be Pringles, pasta, and cakes)”.
Dealing with IBS for 20 years now, Sophie is no stranger to the pain and shame that come with the condition. To put an end to the stigma, she shares over 600 people’s personal IBS stories in their various aspects: happy, sad or embarrassing.
Inflamed and Untamed
“No colon, no problem!” is Gut Girl Sara’s Motto for dealing with Crohn’s, her J-Pouch and the rare disease CIPO. The IBD Superhero’s mission is to teach and inspire so others know they’re not alone.
Jenni is “letting the world into her life” to share the ups and downs that come along with struggling with Crohn’s since the early nineties – completely honest and with a great sense of humor.
Leaving the seat down
Besides hilarious accounts of his mission to “boldly "GO" where no one has gone before”, Vern describes his methods to reach and maintain remission with medication, diets, and relaxation through creating art.
Lights Camera Crohn’s
Former news anchor Natalie talks about how she overcame the long-held silence on her chronic “taboo” illness and what’s happened since she “shared the news that life outside of the studio was everything but perfect”.
Livin‘ the Crohn’s Life
14-year old Becky was diagnosed with Crohn’s at the early age of 8. Noticing a lack of IBD blogs specifically aimed at young patients, she decided to start blogging herself to aide her peers in being “proud of who they are not “in spite of” Crohn’s, but with it.”
My Wellbeing Journal
On “gymaholic” Carly’s blog, that started out as an IBS journal for herself, she provides “nutrition, clean recipes, and healthy eating tips – 3 things I think most people with digestive problems will find go hand-in-hand with curbing their issues.”
So Bad Ass
Besides her blog “for bad asses WITH bad asses”, Sam, an activist for more visibility and body positivity of IBD patients also started the hashtag #morethanmeetstheeye as a way to make a stand for “the millions around the world who live every day with an illness or disability that affects their lives but is unseen by others.”
She can’t eat what?!
Emma has lost count of the amount of times people have declared in confusion “…she can’t eat what?!” Tired of feeling restricted with IBS, she’s on a mission to show that FODMAP friendly food doesn't have to be bland or boring and to help others have a healthy, happy gut.
If you’re interested in the scientific side of IBDs, Aarons Blog is definitely the place for you: “I think it is important for patients to see someone like myself who has IBD but is also pursuing a degree to be able to work in research, who has the background to speak about IBD science legitimately and to be able to break it down for patients to understand.”
After continuous visits to the hospital due to the intensity of her (later to be diagnosed) Crohn’s and more than one surgery, Thaila now lives with her companion “Colin the Colostomy”. She raises awareness and offers helpful advice blogging and vlogging, especially on #Ostomonday.
Having spent her childhood battling Crohn’s, Jessica underwent a colostomy and is ever so happy she did. In order to break the stigma as well as spreading body-positivity, she founded “Uncover Ostomy” where she and her co-authors Kaitlyn, Brandon, and Susan share the experiences of themselves and others.
If you like this post, you may also like: