Buy this Article for $10.95

Have a coupon or promotional code? Enter it here:

When you buy this you'll get access to the ePub version, a downloadable PDF, and the ability to print the full article.


  1. Loven Wickman, Ulrica MScN, RN
  2. Yngman-Uhlin, Pia PhD, RN
  3. Hjortswang, Henrik PhD, MD
  4. Riegel, Barbara DNSc, RN, FAAN, FAHA
  5. Stjernman, Henrik PhD, MD
  6. Hollman Frisman, Gunilla PhD, RN


Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a chronic disease of unknown etiology. The disease occurs early in life and the burden of symptoms is significant. Patients need to perform self-care to handle their symptoms, but knowledge about what kind of self-care patients do is limited and these individuals need to learn how to manage the symptoms that arise. The aim of this study was to explore self-care among patients with IBD. Twenty adult patients with IBD, 25-66 years of age, were interviewed. Data were analyzed by performing a qualitative content analysis. Four categories with 10 subcategories emerged from the analysis of the interviews. The self-care patients perform consists of symptom recognition (subcategories: physiological sensations and psychological sensations), handling of symptoms (subcategories: adapting the diet, using medical treatment, stress management, and using complementary alternative medicine), planning life (subcategories: planning for when to do activities and when to refrain from activities), and seeking new options (subcategories: seeking knowledge and personal contacts). Self-care consists of symptom recognition, handling life through planning, and accommodating the existing situation with the ultimate goal of maintaining well-being. Being one step ahead facilitates living with IBD. A decision to actively participate in care of a chronic illness is a prerequisite for self-care. Healthcare professionals must consider patients' potential for and desire for self-care when giving advice on self-care activities. Doing so may help people better cope with IBD.