How do people with Inflammatory Bowel Disease understand their pain?

Study code

Lead researcher
Amanda Williams

Study type
Participant re-contact

Institution or company
University College London

Speciality area


Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), a chronic gastrointestinal disease comprising Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, encompasses a range of debilitating symptoms. Pain is one of the most widespread and debilitating symptoms, but there is little research examining how individuals with IBD understand their IBD-related pain.

This study will explore how individuals with IBD make sense of their pain. The study hopes to recruit around 20 adults with a diagnosis of Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis, fluent in English and without significant cognitive impairment.

Participants will be interviewed about their understanding of their IBD pain, using the Grid Elaboration Method (GEM; Joffe & Elsey, 2014), and data analysed using thematic analysis. Patterns from the data set will be reported and interpreted (Braun & Clarke, 2006).

A qualitative design imposes no limits or structure on what individual say about their understanding of their pain, and thereby aims to deepen our understanding of how people make sense of their IBD pain, of use in improving patient-focused treatment.