Few studies have investigated emotional experiences in people living with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). However, self-conscious emotions, including embarrassment and shame, are indicated as a key factor in delayed help-seeking for bowel symptoms, which can result in poorer health outcomes. This study aimed to explore experiences of self-conscious emotions among people with IBD. Fifteen participants were recruited from outpatient IBD clinics and patient groups, and engaged in semi-structured interviews about their experiences of IBD-related self-consciousness. Data were analysed using thematic analysis following an inductive, semantic approach and conducted from a critical realist position. The analysis generated two themes, each with three sub-themes, which captured self-conscious emotions in relation to experiences which threatened participants’ preferred identities. The first theme, ‘Lack of control’ encapsulated participants’ distress relating to fundamental alteration in self-perception, and their attempts to mitigate this. The second, ‘Lack of understanding’ captured distress associated with awareness of being unfairly judged by other people. Clinical implications are identified, including consideration of therapeutic approaches which target self-conscious emotions such as shame, and continued societal efforts to educate others about invisible disabilities such as IBD. Experiences which threatened participants’ identities were implicated in the generation of self-conscious emotions; these should be considered in work with clients with IBD. Future research should target further investigation of these constructs.