Stigma and Disclosure in Patients With Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2020 Jun 18;26(7):1010-1016. doi: 10.1093/ibd/izz260.

Ling Guo 1, Jacob Rohde 2, Francis A Farraye 1 3


Author information

  • 1Section of Gastroenterology, Boston Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
  • 2School of Media and Journalism, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA.
  • 3Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Mayo Clinic Jacksonville, Jacksonville, Florida, USA.


Stigma in patients suffering from chronic disease is associated with worse clinical outcomes and secondary medical issues such as depression, anxiety, and decreased quality of life. We believe various forms of stigma can have different clinical significance in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). With further insight and research, we suggest that these forms of stigma could be identified and targeted by researchers or clinicians to lessen the psychological disease burden in patients and to potentially improve their physical well-being. In the current review, we discuss public perceptions, knowledge, and stigmatization of IBD, the prevalence of various forms of IBD stigma, and the impact of such stigma on patient outcomes. We also discuss IBD disclosure, its association with stigma, and the tendencies and effects of such disclosures among youth and adult patient populations. We finish the review by highlighting possible modalities and research areas for future IBD interventions.

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