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Newly Diagnosed

I’ll Be Devoted to taking charge
of my IBD from the start.

Start your new journey

This journey can help you prepare for lifestyle changes that may come from your diagnosis, including insights from people living with the disease. At the end of your journey, you'll earn a Star Rookie badge, proving your devotion to taking charge of IBD from the start.

Watch the introduction video to the right to get started. For more support and answers to your questions, contact our Information Resource Center at: 1-888-MY-GUT-PAIN (1-888-694-8872).

start journey

IBD 101

Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) are inflammatory conditions of the intestines. Symptoms include abdominal cramping, diarrhea, fever, and weight loss. The two most common forms of IBD, Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, cause chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Spanning from the mouth to the anus, the GI tract is responsible for digesting food, absorbing nutrients, and eliminating waste. Though there are similarities between the two diseases, key differences stem from the location of the inflammation.

Roll over the topics below to learn more about IBD:

Causes

Causes
While the exact cause of IBD is unclear, it involves an interaction of genes, the immune system, and environmental factors. The body's immune system usually eliminates foreign microorganisms (invaders) such as bacteria. Inside a healthy GI tract, harmless bacteria (many of which aid in digestion) are protected. In people with IBD, these bacteria are mistaken for harmful invaders and the immune system mounts a response with inflammation.

Symptoms

Symptoms
IBD symptoms vary from person to person and may change over time. Ranging from mild to severe, symptoms of both Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis include diarrhea, urgent bowel movements, abdominal cramping and pain. Additionally, people with IBD often go through periods when little or no symptoms are present (known as remission).

Since Crohn's disease can affect any part of the GI tract, symptoms can vary depending on the location of the inflammation. Ulcerative colitis, on the other hand, only affects the colon and rectum and may cause small sores or ulcers, which can bleed, resulting in bloody stools.

Flares

Flares
Periods of time when the disease is active and causing symptoms,flares can include diarrhea, rectal bleeding, urgent bowel movements, constipation, abdominal pain, fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, and weight loss. Though flares may occur with no apparent reason, some triggers include stress, diet, incorrect medication dosage, lapse in medication, and smoking.

Routine Monitoring

Routine Monitoring
Once diagnosed, your symptoms can oftentimes be effectively managed with medication and ongoing monitoring. Even if you have no symptoms, you will undergo periodic blood testing for evidence of active inflammation and complications of your disease or treatment.

Understand that tests are a snapshot of where you are today, not a long-term view of your health. A complete blood count helps to identify anemia, infection, inflammation, and certain medications. In addition to blood testing, other tests your physician may order on a regular basis include tests to identify inflammation, infection, dehydration, medication side effects, and potential complications.


Real IBD patients. Real IBD challenges.

Click on the videos below to see how two patients share their individual IBD challenges and how they overcame them.


  •  
    Quality of Life

    Hear how IBD symptoms and complications affected Claudia’s career as a journalist.

  • Symptoms &
    Complications

    Claudia discusses how she is “close to symptom-free” after experiencing complications.

  •  
    Diet

    Find out how Jason’s dietary adjustments improve his overall
    well-being.

  •  
    Treatment

    Jason shares why sticking to his prescribed treatment was important in managing his symptoms.

Quality of life

Hear how IBD symptoms and complications affected Claudia's career as a journalist.

Quality of life

What has been your biggest challenge when it comes to your overall well-being and IBD?


Interference with work/school

Impact on social life

Keeping stress levels down

Lack of energy

None of the above


Quality of life

How I faced my challenge

Claudia works with her employers to reduce the amount of stress in her job.

Quality of life

CCFA asked patients and health care professionals for their input on this topic,
and here are some tips they had to offer:

Be open and honest with people about your disease and how it affects you, especially at work/school. In addition to giving people an understanding of your disease, it’s important for you to learn how to talk about it.
When going out to dinner, a movie, a party, or other event, learn the location of the bathroom when you arrive. It will save you some panic if you have a flare.
Remember that you’re not alone. Connecting with others who are going through what you’re going through can be a great source of comfort and insight.

Real IBD patients. Real IBD challenges.

Select another video, or complete your journey now.

  •  
    Quality of Life

    Hear how IBD symptoms and complications affected Claudia's career as a journalist.

  • Symptoms &
    Complications

    Claudia discusses how she is “close to symptom-free” after experiencing complications.

  •  
    Diet

    Find out how Jason's dietary adjustments improve his overall
    well-being.

  •  
    Treatment

    Jason shares why sticking to his prescribed treatment was important in managing his symptoms.

Symptoms &
Complications

Hear about the challenges Claudia faced when she developed a new complication.

Symptoms & Complications

What has been your biggest challenge when it comes to symptoms and complications?

Managing flares away
from home

Avoiding complications

Knowing what foods
cause symptoms for you

Getting my IBD management
off to a good start

None of the above

Symptoms &
Complications

How I faced my challenge

Claudia shares how she’s “close to symptom-free” after experiencing of treating her complications.

Symptoms & Complications

CCFA asked patients and health care professionals for their input on this topic,
and here are some tips they had to offer:

If you’re uncomfortable with your original diagnosis or treatment advice, don’t be afraid to seek out a second opinion. Also consider seeing a gastroenterologist who has experience with IBD patients.
Be involved with your treatment plan. Make sure you have a good relationship and good communication with your health care team.
When talking with your doctor or a specialist, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Come prepared with questions and/or concerns written down.

Real IBD patients. Real IBD challenges.

Select another video, or complete your journey now.

  •  
    Quality of Life

    Hear how IBD symptoms and complications affected Claudia's career as a journalist.

  • Symptoms &
    Complications

    Claudia discusses how she is "close to symptom-free" after experiencing complications.

  •  
    Diet

    Find out how Jason’s dietary adjustments improve his overall
    well-being.

  •  
    Treatment

    Jason shares why sticking to his prescribed treatment was important in managing his symptoms.

Diet

Hear Jason talk about his dietary challenges — from giving up foods he loved to skipping meals.

Diet

What has been your biggest diet-related challenge since being diagnosed with IBD?


Avoiding trigger foods

Finding IBD friendly foods

Sticking with a healthy diet

Not skipping meals

None of the above

Diet

How I faced my challenge

Jason overcomes his dietary challenges and improves his IBD symptoms.

Diet

CCFA asked patients and health care professionals for their input on this topic,
and here are some tips they had to offer:

It can take some trial and error to get your meal plan where it needs to be, but hang in there. Eating right will eventually become part of your daily routine, and you may reap the benefits of symptom improvement.
Keeping a food journal may help you to track how your diet relates to your symptoms.
Consider adding a nutritionist or dietician to your health care team.

Real IBD patients. Real IBD challenges.

Select another video, or complete your journey now.

  •  
    Quality of Life

    Hear how IBD symptoms and complications affected Claudia's career as a journalist.

  • Symptoms &
    Complications

    Claudia discusses how she is “close to symptom-free” after experiencing complications.

  •  
    Diet

    Find out how Jason's dietary adjustments improve his overall
    well-being.

  •  
    Treatment

    Jason shares why sticking to his prescribed treatment was important in managing his symptoms.

Treatment

Jason shares the challenges of keeping his symptoms and complications to a minimum.


Treatment

What has been your biggest challenge with your IBD treatment plan?


Getting desired results

Talking openly with your doctor

Remembering to take your
medication

Worrying about side effects

None of the above

Treatment

How I faced my challenge

Jason learns the importance of working with his doctor and knowing what’s going on with his body.

Prove That You’re Devoted

Starting today, I will: (Check all that apply.)

Have an open dialogue with my health care team to get my IBD management off to a good start

Keep a food diary, eliminate trigger foods, and add delicious IBD friendly foods to my diet

Listen to my body and share symptom changes with my health care team

Maintain a healthy lifestyle, including reducing stress

Create a support network including family, friends, my health care team, and others living with IBD

Prove That You’re Devoted

It is important to take charge of IBD from the start and stay on top of managing it. Our
GI Buddy tracking tool can help, making it easy to keep track of your symptoms, treatment,
diet and well-being. You can even generate at-a-glance and detailed reports to help you see
your IBD management over time, and how these factors might be related.

Your healthcare team can help you identify these relationship, so be sure to share your reports at your next visit. Together, you can work to improve your IBD management and quality of life.


Prove That You're Devoted

We are so happy that you're taking charge of IBD from the start!

Our GI Buddy tracking tool will help you stay on top of your IBD management. It makes
it easy to keep track of your symptoms, treatment, diet and well-being. You can even
generate at-a-glance and detailed reports to help you see you IBD management over
time, and how certain IBD factors may be related.

Be sure to share your reports with your health care team. Together, you can work to
improve your IBD management and quality of life.


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Info Center

Important facts about IBD and management tools.

Resources & Tips

Access tips, questions for your doctor, and valuable CCFA resouces.

Be Inspired. Inspire Others.

Earn your badges, then share your experience with others living with IBD.