The Little things that help me

We understand it can be really hard to know how best to help someone who’s living with Crohn’s or Colitis. You might feel anxious or powerless because you can’t take their condition away. That’s totally natural. The good news is that there are lots of things you can do to help.

As part of our Little things mean a lot campaign, we shared some suggestions of little things you can do to help someone living with Crohn’s or Colitis. But we wanted to go a step further and ask our community of people living with what little things help when they're feeling the weight of their condition. Below you'll find some of the meaningful, but small acts of kindness our supporters told us really help them. 

Many people with Crohn’s or Colitis experience fatigue. Fatigue is ongoing tiredness, lack of energy or exhaustion that doesn’t improve even after rest or sleep. It’s a real symptom that can be very hard to live with.

Fatigue can impact your life in every way, such as your performance in school or at work, your relationships, your ability to do everyday tasks and your social life. Because of this, many people with Crohn’s or Colitis say fatigue is the most difficult symptom to deal with.

It's important to remember that both Crohn's and Colitis are invisible illnesses. So whilst you may not be able to see the physical symptoms, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing going on. Listen to what they’re going through and validate their feelings. It’s important to show that you believe them when they talk about their symptoms, and that they are not a burden to you.

One of the hardest things to cope with when living with Crohn's or Colitis is the unpredictability. It touches every part of your life, from socialising, to work, studying and relationships.

Because of the unpredictability of symptoms, people may be more likely to cancel or rearrange plans. It's important to recognise how frustrating this can be for the person living with the condition. So, if you ever feel frustrated about plans being changed, try to understand their situation. You could even consider planning more relaxing ways to spend time together when usual activities may be too much of a strain? Or suggest catching up online if they don’t feel up to meeting in-person.

A diagnosis of Crohn's or Colitis is life changing. When your gut doesn’t work properly, the effects can be devastating. It can impact every part of your life - from digestion and joints to your energy levels and mental health.

Sometimes people might prefer just to carry on as normal and not talk about their illness. But at other times they may appreciate someone to open up to. Take the time to really understand what they’re going through. You don’t need to have all the answers, sometimes listening is enough.

There may be times when symptoms are better and other times when they’re worse, known as flare-ups. Having a flare-up can be a difficult time and have a big impact on a person's life. During a flare-up, someone may feel weak, tired or be in a lot of pain and discomfort. Offering to do things like cooking and cleaning could be a great help so they can focus on their recovery.

If you have Crohn’s or Colitis, what you eat may affect your symptoms. But it is different for everybody.  However, the more you know about Crohn’s and Colitis, the more support you’ll be able to give. Ask your loved one if certain foods trigger their symptoms. It's important to have this conversation with them as everyone is different. Foods that may help one person may do nothing or even make symptoms worse in another. 

Are you supporting someone living with Crohn's or Colitis?

It can be really hard to know how best to support someone who’s living with Crohn’s or Colitis. The good news is that there are lots of things you can do to help.


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Helpline service


We know it can be difficult to live with, or support someone living with these conditions. But you’re not alone. We provide up-to-date, evidence-based information and can support you to live well with Crohn’s or Colitis.

Our helpline team can help by:

  • Providing information about Crohn’s and Colitis.

  • Listening and talking through your situation.

  • Helping you to find support from others in the Crohn’s and Colitis community.

  • Signposting you to specialist organisations.

Please be aware we’re not medically or legally trained. We cannot provide detailed financial or benefits advice or specialist emotional support.

Please contact us via telephone, email or LiveChat - 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday (except English bank holidays).

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If you need specific medical advice about your condition, your GP or IBD team will be best placed to help.

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