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7 surprising things you may not know about IBD

7 surprising things you may not know about IBD

Updated on
May 9, 2024
Medical reviewer
Medically reviewed by
Brittany Rogers, MS, RDN
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Written by
Romanwell Dietitians

If you’re newly diagnosed or have been living with Crohn’s or colitis for years, below are 7 surprising things you may not know about IBD. 

1. You’re not alone in your diagnosis

Did you know that there are about 2.4 million people living with IBD in the U.S.? If you don’t know anyone with IBD and would like to, there are great resources and communities out there where you can meet fellow IBD patients and share in your lived experience.

2. There’s no cure for IBD, but there’s a lot of research going on to find one!

There are treatment options available that can help increase the chances of getting into and maintaining remission. There are also many clinical trials ongoing for medications that are still being researched. 

While we don't yet have a cure for IBD, there are many researchers that dedicate their careers to finding one and we continue to make progress every day.


3. The type of IBD you have and its severity determines your treatment plan

Do you know what type of IBD you have? Do you have mild-to-moderate or moderate-to-severe disease?

Some medications are available for many types of IBD while others are approved only for people with a certain type or severity of disease. There are even some diets that could be considered for induction of remission for mild-to-moderate Crohn’s disease.

Your care team uses this information to determine the optimal treatment plan for you. If you don’t know what type of IBD you have or your disease severity, ask your doctor.

4. High perceived stress and poor sleep quality may increase your risk for flares

Although more research is needed in this space, some studies have found that high perceived stress and poor sleep quality may increase your risk for flares.

If you’ve noticed an increase in symptoms following stress or poor sleep, you may try implementing mindfulness-based activities, like meditation, breath work, or yoga, to reduce stress and sleep hygiene techniques to improve sleep quality.

5. There are different types of remission and it’s important to know which applies to you

When your doctor says you're in remission, it's important to know which type of remission she's talking about. There are many different types of remission including:

  1. Clinical remission - you’re symptom free but may still have inflammation.
  2. Biochemical remission - your inflammatory stool and blood tests are within normal limits.
  3. Endoscopic remission - your doctor didn’t see any visible signs of active inflammation during a colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy, or endoscopy.
  4. Surgical remission - you’re in remission because your doctor removed the inflamed part or parts of your bowel.
  5. Histological remission - the biopsies of your colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy, or endoscopy don’t show any active inflammation under the microscope.
  6. Intestinal barrier healing - this is a new type of remission that’s still being studied. It looks at how well the intestinal lining has healed and may be better at predicting long-term outcomes including flares, hospitalizations, and surgeries. 

6. You can have active disease without an increase in symptoms

When you’re only in clinical remission, you may still have inflammation without experiencing symptoms. This is why it’s important to get your inflammatory markers checked regularly regardless of how you’re feeling. 

7. There’s a difference between pro-inflammatory foods, anti-inflammatory foods, and trigger foods

  • Trigger foods - these are foods that cause a symptomatic response when consumed. These may or may not also be inflammatory
  • Pro-inflammatory foods - these are foods that when consumed frequently over time, increase the risk for active disease (inflammation). These foods may or may not trigger your symptoms.
  • Anti-inflammatory foods - these are foods that when consumed frequently over time, decrease the risk for active disease. These may or may not trigger your symptoms.


Get nutrition support for your Crohn’s or colitis

If you want support reducing your symptoms and expanding your diet, consider reaching out to one of our IBD-focused registered dietitians. We can help you quickly identify your trigger foods and find better tolerated alternatives you can swap into their place.

We can also help you decrease your risk for inflammation long-term and restore your relationship with food so you can feel more in control of your Crohn's or colitis. Request a call to learn more or to get started with an IBD-focused registered dietitian today.

We can help you reduce your symptoms without a restrictive diet
Pay as little as $0 per appointment with insurance
brittany rogers rd


  1. Lewis JD, Parlett LE, Jonsson-Funk ML, Brensinger C, Pate V, Wu Q, Dawwas GK, Weiss A, Constant BD, McCauley M, Haynes K, Yang JY, Schaubel DE, Hurtado-Lorenzo A, Kappelman MD. Incidence, Prevalence and Racial and Ethnic Distribution of Inflammatory Bowel Disease in the United States. Gastroenterology. 2023 Jul 15:S0016-5085(23)04776-5. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2023.07.003. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 37481117.
  2. Sauk JS, Ryu HJ, Labus JS, Khandadash A, Ahdoot AI, Lagishetty V, Katzka W, Wang H, Naliboff B, Jacobs JP, Mayer EA. High Perceived Stress is Associated With Increased Risk of Ulcerative Colitis Clinical Flares. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2023 Mar;21(3):741-749.e3. doi: 10.1016/j.cgh.2022.07.025. Epub 2022 Aug 8. PMID: 35952942.

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