“You are probably eating a lot of unhealthy food” – how many times have people with inflammatory bowel disease heard of this one?
More than 1.4 million people in the U.S alone have IBD, yet, there’s a lot of catching up to do regarding the reality behind the chronic disease. This poses a lot of difficulty for people dealing with the chronic disease. Some are criticized for not eating the right type of food and some believe IBD develops in people with certain personality traits. It’s time to debunk several of these stories.
Myths About Inflammatory Bowel Disease
1. You Have IBD Because You Have Eaten Too Much Junk Food
Fact: IBD isn’t caused by a poor diet.
Several people believe inflammatory bowel disease is caused by a poor diet and eating a lot of unhealthy food. It isn’t true. People with IBD haven’t done anything to contribute to its development. While certain foods could trigger a flare up, it isn’t the cause of IBD. Studies reveal IBD could be caused by a mixture of genetics and immune system reactions.
2. IBD And IBS Are The Same
Fact: Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) are two completely different medical issues.
A lot of people get mixed up with IBD and IBS, believing it’s the same thing. While the names and symptoms are very similar, it’s conceptually two different issues. IBS is a much lesser medical issue that doesn’t result in inflammation and leads to abdominal pain, diarrhea, or constipation that could last for sometime. On the other hand, IBD is a serious lifelong condition that causes your intestines to be inflamed. It’s the reason behind Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
3. IBD Is Caused By A Lot Of Stress
Fact: IBD isn’t caused by stress.
Earlier research had led people to believe stress was one of the main culprits behind IBD. But, recent studies reveal stress doesn’t cause structural changes to the intestines, as in the case of IBD. Stress could make things worse for people with IBD but it isn’t the cause of the disease.
4. People With Psychological Issues Are Prone To IBD
Fact: There is no link between psychological problems and the development of IBD.
A long time ago, people associated IBD as a result of having certain psychological issues or even having specific personality traits. Probably why people associated stress with IBD. But, studies have dismissed these early thoughts about the disease. IBD is biological in nature and not a result of emotions.
5. You Need To Stop Taking IBD Medication During Pregnancy
Fact: There are certain medicines that are safe to use during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
There are certain IBD medicines you need to avoid during pregnancy. But there are a few others that are considered safe for pregnancy and breastfeeding. Your doctor will recommend the right course of medication to take. Avoiding these medications could lead to a flare up during pregnancy and this could be harmful to both you and your baby.
6. You Need To Stop Eating Gluten If You Have IBD
Fact: Not everybody with IBD are intolerant to gluten.
There are cases where people with IBD have gluten-intolerance and there are a few cases with no issues to eating gluten. Some people with IBD experience lesser symptoms by reducing their gluten intake. But there’s no rule that states if you have IBD, you need to stop gluten immediately. If you think your flare-up is caused by gluten, discuss it with your dietician, and they would build a specific diet plan for you.
7. You Don’t Look Like You Have An Issue
Fact: Unlike several other serious medical ailments, IBD doesn’t have a visible appearance of being ill.
Sometimes statements like, “you don’t seem like you have an issue” could undermine the seriousness of the disease in people facing IBD. Some people even express their wish to have the disease to lose a lot of weight. IBD is a chronic condition that involves a lot of pain, fatigue, and discomfort with a sudden and uncontrollable need to go to the toilet.