One of the biggest issues that those living with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) can face is the fear of becoming socially isolated.1 Here are some helpful tips for dealing with this fear:

Boy and girl sitting on a sofa

Icon friends and family

Friends and family2

  • Speak to family and friends – being open about your problems can help them understand
  • Explain that plans may need to be cancelled last minute. Not everyone will always be understanding, but it is important that you prioritise your health. You should not feel guilty if you need to leave early or even not attend at all
  • Your friends may have questions that seem strange, but accept that people without IBD don’t know much about it
  • They might also make silly suggestions, or tell you things you already know. Remember that they are trying to help, so simply explain that you are managing your condition and that you understand what works best for you

Icon intimate relationships

Intimate relationships3,4

IBD can get in the way of intimate relationships. Here are some tips to help you manage the situation a little better:

  • Be honest with your partner: Openly communicate your feelings. Explain the emotional and physical impacts of IBD, and how this can impact intimacy
  • It may be helpful to explain that sometimes there is a disconnect between how you feel emotionally and how you feel physically
  • Be prepared for some difficult conversations; not all potential partners will understand your apprehensions. You may have to decide whether or not that person is right for you


More information can be found on the following websites:






1.    Sajadinejad MS, et al. Gastroenterol Res Pract 2012;2012:106502.
2.    Healthy Women. 10 Tips for friends and family supporting someone with IBD. Available at: [Last accessed October 1, 2019]
3.    Crohn's & Colitis UK. Sexual relationships and IBD. Available at: [Last accessed October 1, 2019]
4.    Resilient Families. Types of intimacy. Available at: [Last accessed October 1, 2019]

Image of cartoon grass