Fatigue is a frequently reported symptom in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and it has a major negative impact on their quality of life. The aim of this study was to understand the causes of fatigue in IBD, as well as strategies for managing it from the patients' perspective. Qualitative data, in the form of answers to free-text questions on a self-report questionnaire, were collected from patients attending outpatient clinics. Of the 182 patients who completed the questionnaire, 151 provided answers to the questions about causes and 137 replied to say what helped them. In their responses, patients reported that, in addition to their IBD, their lifestyle and psychological aspects were key factors contributing to fatigue. Two opposing self-management techniques, increasing sleep or undertaking more exercise, were reported as effective in managing IBD-related fatigue. Nurses have a crucial role in acknowledging fatigue as an important issue and in helping patients deal with IBD-related fatigue.
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
- Qualitative study