This article reports on the experiences of individuals living with IBD and identifies a range of coping strategies used by them. Qualitative data from 15 individual interviews and three focus groups were analysed using a grounded theory approach. The main focus is on the emergent core concept of 'health-related normality'. A theoretical framework is proposed to explain how individuals with IBD assess their health-related normality, their fight to maintain it and their need to retain the appearance of normality to others. It is concluded that individuals maintain their health-related normality along certain time and context sensitive continuums rather than fitting into a distinct typology.