The treatment of Crohn’s disease mainly includes lifestyle modifications, such as the right exercises and a healthy diet. In addition to this, prescribed anti-inflammatory medicines can also help with flare-ups.
The treatment of any disease, including Crohn’s goes beyond just what the doctor prescribes. It is actually the everyday routine- food habits, lifestyle habits- that actually matters. A simple tweak in the daily routine can have a lot of impact on the life of a person living with Crohn’s disease.
Here are 15 tips that can help to tackle Crohn’s disease better and help you live healthier and happier.
Start with the Basics
Some people suffering from Crohn’s disease don’t understand what they are suffering from hence, they try various treatment options without actual knowledge. Here is a list of basic details regarding Crohn’s disease that can help you understand the condition better.
-This is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). (Also Read: IBS vs. IBD- Know The Difference )
-It can lead to abdominal pain, severe diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss, and malnutrition.
-Long term condition that affects inflammation of the digestive tract
According to Pristyn Care doctors, people with Crohn’s disease should avoid smoking absolutely. This can actually make the condition worse. Active smokers who have developed Crohn’s disease tend to have a higher number of flares. Hence, doctors suggest quitting smoking for people suffering from Crohn’s disease.
As Crohn’s disease is a type of inflammatory disease, smoking can aggravate the inflammation that can only be cured with emergency surgeries.
Drink an Ample Amount of Fluid
Water is a vital and inevitable part of human life. The essence of nature, water can be the cure and solution to almost every disease and ailment.
To reduce the risk of flare-ups and dehydration, take an ample amount of fluids. If you don’t feel like having water, you can drink fresh fruit juices without any added sugar. In some cases where there is a loss of electrolytes due to acute dehydration, take ORS.
Exercises such as aerobics and resistance training benefit a person with Crohn’s disease in two ways. First, the digestive tract works more efficiently. The other benefit is that it reduces stress by increasing endorphins production.
A complication of Crohn’s disease is osteoporosis. Weight-bearing exercises can help in overcoming these.
Try To Relax
Stress is an inflammation aggravator. This is not necessarily a cause of Crohn’s condition, but surely it can aggravate the existing symptoms.
According to a 2016 report published in Patient Preference and Adherence, it showed that stress had a negative impact on the quality of life suffering from Crohn’s disease. (Ref Website)
You can try the following methods to relax and calm yourself. Some of them are-
You can try other ways to calm yourself. Choose whatever suits you. If you feel like reading a book or listening to music or spending time with your family, then do it.
Goodnight’s sleep can cure numerous problems. When the body is asleep, it prepares itself for recovery. Stick to a sleeping routine, with a set time for sleeping and waking up. It is okay if you are not able to stick to the routine for a day or two. In such cases, try to catch up with the lost sleep.
For people who are unable to focus on sleep when they lie on the bed, they can wind up early and go to bed to avoid distractions.
Communicate Your Problems
If you continue to be in pain without letting anybody know, this will only make the problem worse. Hence, after the diagnosis of the condition share the information with your closed ones. You can also share the information with your colleagues.
Explain to them what the problem is and how it is going to affect you as well as their life. This will help the person understand better about your situation and they will be able to take better care of you.
Eat Small and Frequent Meals
People living with Crohn’s disease are unable to digest a lot of food at a time. Portion control becomes crucial in such cases.
Normally with or without Crohn’s disease, it is better to take small meals at regular intervals. Eat three meals a day with several small healthy snacks in between.
This gives the body to digest the food in time and reduces the chances of bloating.
Limit Your Caffeine and Alcohol Intake
Beverages that contain caffeine, added sugar or carbonation tend to make the symptoms of Crohn’s disease worse. This is because caffeinated drinks cause dehydration in the body. (Also Read: How does alcohol affect Crohn’s Disease?)
Dairy Can Be Scary
A lot of people suffering from Crohn’s disease can have difficulty digesting lactose. But lactose intolerance and Crohn’s disease are two different conditions. It’s just that the symptoms of both these conditions are the same.
People suffering from Crohn’s disease, often complain of pain and gastrointestinal issues that are associated with IBD. In such instances, stop consuming milk and dairy products.
Don’t Take Over-The-Counter Anti-Inflammatory Drugs
Pristyn Care doctors believe that taking Over-the-Counter medicines for reducing inflammation during flare-ups without proper knowledge can be harmful. They can further cause ulcers in the intestinal linings. Hence, avoid taking any anti-inflammatory drugs without properly consulting with the doctor.
Don’t Ignore New Symptoms
Some complications of Crohn’s disease are- Ulcers, anal fistulas, fissures or abscesses. Although these occur in rare cases, they can occur when flare-ups are not dealt with. Don’t make the mistake of anticipating that these will cure on its own.
These are medical conditions that require prescribed medicines to treat the problem. Consult with the doctor immediately if you feel a tag or have extreme pain near the anal region.
Maintain a Journal
Keeping a track of what you are eating helps to understand what food you should eat or avoid. This will help to prevent flare-ups. Moreover, writing it down helps to understand how the body responds when you eat something new.
Nowadays, there are apps that can help track food habits. They also come with customized notifications and alerts.
Restrict Foods That Are Difficult To Digest
Oily, greasy foods are difficult to digest. The digestive system for people suffering from Crohn’s disease is already weak, therefore, eating greasy food increases the risk of diarrhea. Similarly, high-roughage food is also difficult for the digestive system to process.
Try to avoid deep-fried snacks, cream-based sauces or processed food. Crohn’s disease patients should also avoid corn, beans, as this can cause bloating, cramping, etc.
Talk To A Nutritionist
The requisite amount of daily nutrition takes a backseat for people suffering from Crohn’s disease. To get proper nutrition on a daily basis, discuss with a nutritionist or registered dietitian and chalk out a nutrition plan. But remember the nutritionist should understand your condition thoroughly.