While there has been speculation in the literature about what life with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is like, patients have not, prior to this study, been asked about their perceptions. This paper reports the results of a study which measured the impact of having IBD on eight lifestyle variables. Eighty IBD patients completed the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Stress Index. Results showed that although the impact of IBD on relationships, school and employment, recreational activities, sexuality, psychosomatic symptomatology, body image and worry was minimal, the patients’ satisfaction with life was impaired as a result of having IBD. Rationale for this discrepancy and the significance of the findings for nurses are presented.